By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor
Haisley librarian Sarah Rentz discovered the Giving Library at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital last fall when her toddler, David, was a patient there for a month.
“It’s an amazing non-profit that gets brand new books into the hands of every patient in the hospital each week,” she said, noting that if siblings are visiting, they are given books as well. “This includes all ages of children and a range of different kinds of books. “
Now under her leadership and in honor of National Reading Month in March, the school has collected 125 new books for the Giving Library.
The goal of collecting 100 new books was met during the first week. (Because of infectious disease control, the books must be new.)
Rentz said that when she spoke to students about the book drive, a child would inevitably raise a hand to say: “I got one of those when I was in the hospital.”
“The feedback from the kids and from parents and teachers and everybody has just been incredible,” said Rentz. “The 125 books raised is just from the Haisley community. We also got two full boxes donated from Literati Bookstore and a box donated from Nicola’s Books. Some other librarians are sending me some books. We put it on Facebook and Twitter, and we have people from all over the country sending us books.”
Rentz’s son, David was 17-months old when he spent a month at Mott between Thanksgiving and Christmas with pneumonia and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).
Five days into his intubation, during a very stressful time watching her son on a ventilator, a volunteer with a cart of books stopped outside his room.
“When you go to the hospital, most of the time you don’t realize you might stay there,” she said. “We didn’t pack anything. We didn’t have a book. And we were so worried about our son that we didn’t know which way was up. But they came around with a cart and said, `You get to pick a book to keep. What would your son like to read, to listen to, to look at? What would you like?'”
The next week, they got to pick out another book. The cart came by week after week. And when David was readmitted at the beginning of February, the cart came around again.
“It just totally blew us away,” said Rentz, who is also the mother of 5-year-old Lillian. “We suddenly had a book that we could read to our poor little boy. We didn’t have anything like there, so to have that and be able to sit with him and do that when we didn’t want to leave was really just so cathartic for us.”
The book drive continues until spring break, and donations may be dropped off at Haisley, 825 Duncan. The plan is to hold another book drive for the Giving Library next year.
Meanwhile, little David is doing better, although he still has some lingering effects of his illness. The family hopes that an upcoming procedure will make a big difference.
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