Five years ago, an SU student had the idea to celebrate the holidays and raise money at the same time through a project at his local library.
Senior marketing major Joseph Smolinski began a holiday book tree project at Camp Hill’s Fredricksen Library in 2013 as part of his National Honors Society project.
The library was recycling old reference books, and Smolinski’s mom had mentioned the idea of a book tree.
He came up with the idea of creating a book tree, but also allowing people to donate money to have their name on the binding of the book.
That year, $1,500 was raised. Half of the money went to the library and the other half went to Save the Children for Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
Until 2017 all of the money was donated to the library because of decreasing library funds, but last year the money was donated to hurricane relief for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
“We saw all the devastation that the hurricanes brought,” Smolinski said.
So far this year, the library has raised almost $1,000, bringing the total money raised to almost $11,000.
The tree is made of about 300 books, and anyone can have a book dedicated to himself or herself for a minimum donation of $10.
Smolinski presented his book tree idea at the Pennsylvania Library Association conference this year. He spoke with hundreds of libraries from Pennsylvania, and provided them with pamphlets about how to replicate the fundraiser for their libraries.
Smolinski said he is open to the idea of doing a project like this at the Ezra Lehman Memorial Library on SU’s campus.
The tree’s purpose is not only to collect donations, but to warm people’s hearts for the holidays, Smolinski said.
“It’s supposed to be a positive image for the holidays,” he said.
Smolinski has been volunteering at the library since 2009, and has been working in the circulation department since 2012.
For more information, visit https://www.cumberlandcountylibraries.org/FRE_2018%20Holiday%20Book%20Tree.