Five hundred and fifteen pounds. That’s the weight of the thousand-plus donated paperbacks Arlington Public Library has shipped to American troops in Afghanistan.
During the month of May, Library staff and volunteers mailed literary care packages to dozens of military members in customized parcels of 10 or 20 books, based on each serviceman’s or servicewoman’s stated reading preferences.
The Operation Paperback project stemmed from the Library’s Arlington Reads 2011 initiative, featuring the theme “The Soldier’s Story: Serving Country and Community.”
“This year, Arlington Reads really means Arlington cares,” Library Director Diane Kresh said. The Pentagon recently found morale sagging due to intense fighting against insurgents. “We hope to help boost morale during this tough phase of a long war,” she added.
“Our volunteers are amazing,” Kresh said, noting that the project required 150 hours of donated time, and that all the books were donated.