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‘Open Book Room’ offers free books to Big Country readers

Each summer, Global Samaritan opens its book room to the public on Wednesdays for people to read, shop, return books and volunteer.

ABILENE, Texas — Every summer, Global Samaritan Resources Open Book Room opens to provide free books to read, return, keep and share, to anyone in the Big Country.

Parents, children and people of all ages are encouraged to come by the Open Book Room to improve their literacy and help with book access. 

“Our family loves to read. We have a lot of kids, and it's important to surround them with books. In today's age, everybody wants to be on their phones and on their computers, and that's always a battle to get them off. But the more they are surrounded, the better they're thirsty and the more they know. And if you can find books that they're interested in, which is why I'm looking for books right now. Then It’ll be a win,” Abilene parent Chrys Mundy shared.

Pewresearch.org reported roughly a quarter of American adults (23%) say they haven’t read a book in whole or in part in the past year, whether in print, electronic or audio form. 

In 2021, more than 6,000 free books went home with readers who visited the Open Book Room. The program is aimed at increasing the amount of people who read in their day-to-day life and make it easier to find a book they’ll enjoy. 

Lisa Murphy recently retired as an Abilene teacher, but volunteers at the Open Book Room. She said she dedicates every summer to investing in literacy in the community.

“My husband happens to work here and told me about the room. I recently retired, so I decided I would come and dedicate some time to setting it up and organizing it. So it looks like a library and everything, but the books are free. You can take them and keep them. Share them however you want to,” Murphy said.

To help keep the open book room going each summer, Atoms Energy donated $7,500 to Global Samaritan Resources to invest in education and literacy in the Abilene community.

“We’re fueling our safe and thriving communities programs to make sure that every kid is fed, every kid has the opportunity to read, and they have everything that they need for their summer programs. So we're happy to be a part of it. Thank you all for allowing us the opportunity to do that,” Shaun Martin, Atmos Energy Manager of Public Affairs, said. 

The 2022 hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesdays from June 1- Aug. 10. You can find the Open Book Room at 2074 N. 1st St. in Abilene.

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