Anonymous person purchases books, then donates to library


An anonymous person recently bought hundreds of dollars worth of books at Thee Bookstore and donated them to Hillsboro Public Library.

Brenda Hamm, owner of Thee Bookstore, said the person told her she appreciated the book store and wanted to do something to help before it closed permanently.

“The idea was that the donor knew it would be a benefit to us and to the library,” Hamm said.

For Cathy Fish, library director, the monetary gift equates to about 20 new books in the Christian-based, inspirational fiction section of the library.

“I was overwhelmed by the donor’s generosity,” Fish said.

Prior to ordering the books from Thee Bookstore, the donor approached Fish and asked her if she had any books on her library “wish list.”

The list included books needed to complete a series and easier to read Bibles, Fish said.

“Our Bibles are the old King James Version,” she said, “and it’s really hard to understand. These (new books) are the more modern writings.”

For Fish and library patrons, the new Bibles will be a welcome addition.

“We don’t have very many Bibles,” she said, “and if people would want to look up verses or something, they couldn’t.”

Both Hamm and Fish agreed the donor was thinking about the community when the gift was made.

“The thing I recognize is that (the donation) meant there is someone who cares about what is happening within the community and is finding ways to participate in it being a better place,” Hamm said. “I am sure the donor does different things to help the community in addition to the library.”

The bookstore closed Saturday, May 26, and Hamm said it was heartwarming to have been able to participate in helping the community one more time.

“That’s probably one of the sad parts about closing is that I want to help, but once we are shut down, I can’t help someone anymore,” she said.

Working with the library and donor on the book order last week was one more way Hamm said Thee Bookstore could help.

“We all take it for granted that things will always be around us,” she said. “Each of us needs to take a personal interest and a way of saying, ‘I can contribute.’”

The contribution, she said, may not be financial; it might be volunteering time or manpower.

“In that sense, I saw this as a person who said, ‘Hey, I believe in my community and I know what is important and I will help make it happen,’” Hamm said.

Fish said the donation was a significant boost to the Christian section and was a “double help” to the bookstore and library.

Although Hamm and Fish said people have given small gifts, neither of them said they ever had the privilege of working with someone wanting to give so much.

Hamm owned the bookstore for nearly 10 years. The original owner was the Mennonite Brethren Conference, which opened the store in 1922.

The MBC owned the store for about 55 years, she said, and then it was privately owned for about another 35 years.

“There weren’t many owners,” Hamm said.

“I worked for three of them over the years.”

The anonymous donor’s wish to do something special for the bookstore was a wonderful way to end on a positive note, Hamm said.


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