Local business collecting books for service members overseas

In the new year, Bethany Beach Books is working to actively support U.S. troops serving abroad.

“We are extremely excited for this new community project,” said Amanda Zirn, media relations coordinator for the store.

Zirn said the store’s staff decided to embrace the project after speaking with a local woman whose son is serving on the aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman.

“One of the women in my Women in Wine Book Club — Darla — she asked if I knew of anywhere she could take these books that would send them overseas. I didn’t know of a place, but it would be a really good thing to do for the community,” Zirn recalled thinking.

“She said there are over 6,000 men and women on this boat, and they all go through the same set of books, because they just don’t have that many books.”

Through the book campaign, Zirn said the store’s staff hopes to collect like-new books and send them to service members once a month.

“We are looking for any gently-used adult paperback or hardback books, for any adult. I know a lot of people think that there aren’t that many women, but Darla told me that the ship pretty much has an equal amount of men and women,” she said, adding that they’ve already mailed a box to the aircraft carrier. “In the box we sent, we sent mysteries, nonfiction, some romance and crime novels — a little bit of everything.”

Zirn added that she hopes the project will be well-received by the community, but she also requests that donations are brought in in “reasonable quantities.”

“We want to collect as many books as possible but, unfortunately, we are not a used book store. We ask that books not be brought to us in large quantities — anything involving trash bags, body bags or dump trucks,” she noted with a laugh. “We also ask that you don’t empty out Auntie May’s library or bring us any 50-volume sets of anything.”

Along with the donated books, Zirn said that the book store staff is requesting that those who donate books inscribe them, as well.

“I wrote in every one of them, ‘Thank you for all you’ve done for our country. We are thinking of you in Bethany Beach,’” she said. “Our vision is to send a few boxes of used books to a different base or ship each month. If anyone in the community has a son, cousin, husband, daughter, or anyone, who is serving and knows their address, we would love to send them books, so we could spread the books out.”

Zirn said that she and the book store staff are extremely excited about the project and hope to show their support through donations.

“We hope people view us as an independent bookstore. We aren’t the big corporate Barnes & Noble. We’re not Amazon. We try to be more personal and try to support our local community,” she said. “We hope they are as excited about it as we are, and that people remember that there are people who are still serving our country overseas that don’t get the comforts and warmth of home every day.”

Bethany Beach Books is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located at 99 Garfield Parkway in downtown Bethany Beach. For more information, visit www.bethanybeachbooks.com, call (302) 539-2522, or email Zirn at Amanda@bethanybeachbooks.com.