Anyone stopping by the Fort Calhoun Library may have noticed some books have round, colored stickers with holes in the middle on the spines. These books are from a particular donation.
Before moving to Minnesota, former Omaha resident Phyllis Aron gifted 1,000 books to the library, which is sponsored and operated by volunteers from the Fort Calhoun Women's Club.
"She didn't want to take all her books, and so she gave them all to us," said Sharon Voss, who volunteers with the library. "Really, we didn't think she had 1,000 books. We thought OK, sure she's got a lot, we'll take them."
There really were 1,000 books in Aron's collection that included hardbacks, paperbacks, fiction, some non-fiction and Jewish religious texts. When the donation arrived, it took four truck fulls and some help to stack numerous boxes around the library.
"We had boxes all along the top, every place and still trying to keep the aisles clear," Voss said.
Volunteer Pat Arndt said a man came in with around 20 books over a week ago saying he had a lot of books to donate, but it didn't compare to the stacks of boxes from Aron.
"I thought that's mere child's play compared to what we got," Arndt said.
Voss said the books Aron donated were even in nearly perfect condition.
"She did not eat while she read, they were pristine," Voss joked.
Though the library's volunteers are literature lovers themselves, Voss said many of the authors were new to them.
"She introduced us to a lot of authors we've never heard of before, so our customers really benefitted from that. She broadened our horizons," she said. "If she found an author she liked, she bought everything by that author."
While many books were new as far as the library's catalog is concerned, some were duplicates. The duplicates were donated to the Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary’s Rummage Sale. Some of the religious texts were also donated to churches or synagogues.
But many of Aron's donated books are still on sale at the library, along with the other several thousand the women's club has in stock.
"We put those (stickers) on because we had so many, and they were getting put in with the books we already had that we wanted people to know that this was a new donation," Voss said. She added that having the new variety of authors and books is beneficial to the library's customers and to the library volunteers ability to keep providing a service to the community.
Ardnt said the library is almost entirely funded through the women's club and volunteers work the hours the library is open, which is Monday and Wednesday's from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays form 10 a.m. to noon.
Arndt encourages people to stop in or volunteer to keep the library, which offers summer youth reading programs, stocks new bestsellers and orders requested books, going strong in the community.
"It really doesn't get the use that it should," she said. "I think a lot of people just aren't aware of it, or they haven't tried it out. They have a wonderful library in Blair, but it's so convenient to come down here."