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National Endowment for Humanities donates books to local libraries

COVINGTON -- Area libraries recently received a collection of books as part of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Newton County Library and the W.H. Stanton Memorial Library in Social Circle each received 17 hardcover books for young readers through the We The People Bookshelf program.

The Newton County Library has received the annual grant for several years.

"This grant is important because it gives us basic books that are needed in our collection," said Carol Durusau, children's services manager with the Newton County Library. "This is a really big help to fill in holes in the collection and to make sure our collection is more complete."

The We The People Bookshelf program has distributed 17,000 We The People Bookshelf grants to schools and public libraries across the country since 2003, according to a press release from the organization.

This year's theme is "A More Perfect Union." Among the books included in the selection are "Tico and the Golden Wings" by Leo Lionni, "Cesar Si, Se Puede!/Yes, We Can!" by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand; "Lincoln Shot: A President's Life Remembered" by Barry Denenberg and "Carver: A Life in Poems" by Marilyn Nelson.

The Bookshelf collection will be useful for launching a number of programs at the Stanton Memorial Library in Social Circle, said Janet King, manager of the Stanton Memorial Library. .

"With all the materials that have been granted, we're trying to get programs started that are open to all ages and important to our community," she said.

In addition to the 17 classic books, the Stanton Library also received a DVD edition of the Ken Burns documentary, "The Civil War."

With this, King said, she is working to implement a film series based on that time in U.S. history. She said she would like to invite John Zwemer, local history teacher and author of "Civil War Pocket Reader," to speak about his studies of that era. In addition, King said she has ideas that would target different age groups. For example, she said she is planning to hold an open mic night in April for middle- and high-school students in honor of National Poetry Month when she will highlight Nelson's "Carver: a Life in Poems."

Grants like the We The People are important for sustaining the local libraries, King said.

"We get funding from the city (of Social Circle) and the state, but we are trying to supplement that local funding," King said.

She said even with about 6,000 people visiting the library in March, her goal is to inspire "everybody in Social Circle, especially students, to own a library card."

The Stanton Memorial Library is located at 407 W. Hightower Trail in Social Circle.