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Summer library program donates 524 books to children’s hospital

By Staff | Jul 31, 2013

The Summer Reading Program at the Sanibel Public Library donated books to the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida last week. From left to right, Shane Rafferty, child life specialist; Garrett Gablehouse, hospital teacher; Linda Estep, Sanibel Public Library Foundation; and Barbara Dunke, youth services librarian. Mckenzie Cassidy.

The Sanibel Public Library’s summer program came to an end last week with a donation of books to the Golisano Children’s Museum of Southwest Florida and homemade ice cream.

For every book read by a child in the Summer Reading Program, another book was donated to the children’s hospital. Barbara Dunke, youth services librarian, said 524 books were tentatively offered but more are expected before they are shipped in mid-August.

“I didn’t give the books to the hospital, you all gave the books with your reading,” said Dunke to children registered in the program and their parents.

Every year the Sanibel Public Library has been a major provider of books for sick children.

“This is one of our main sources of books at the children’s hospital,” said Shane Rafferty, a child life specialist from the hospital.

New books are needed every year because worn out copies are discarded and books given to children staying at the hospital can’t be returned because of the possibility of spreading illnesses.

Rafferty said books are placed in playrooms, hospital waiting rooms, and used by Garrett Gablehouse, a certified teacher for children checked into the hospital.

“They’re distributed for all the kids in the hospital,” said Gablehouse. “I’ll push a book cart around and hand them out.”

Dunke said the number of donated books will likely be much higher once they account for children who were on vacation and didn’t turn in their book lists.

The Sanibel Public Library Foundation funds the program by matching a read book with a donated book.

After the presentation of books the children celebrated the last day of the Summer Reading Program by making their own ice cream in resealable plastic bags.

For more information on the Sanibel Public Library, visit sanlib.org.