Brigham Young University students and administrators are beginning to collect 40,000 books for literature-starved Romania.
In a universitywide effort, the collection drive will include various campus activities through April 26. Preparation of the materials for shipping will continue through May 17.Paul Jordan, library administrator in charge of the project, said, "The campaign is aimed at students and faculty, individually and as members of classes, organizations, campus wards, colleges and departments."
Jordan said the Central University Library in Bucharest has asked for books printed in the past 10 years. However, the library will accept literary books, history books and books in the fine arts with any publication date. It will also accept periodicals.
For additional information, call Paul Jordan at 378-6761.
The kickoff activity for the collection drive was a "Bucharest Book Bash" sponsored by American Heritage classes on March 15. The dance entrance fee was a book.
In upcoming days, the BYU Student Service Association (BYUSA) will place book collection bins around campus to encourage students and administrators to donate books. The BYU Bookstore will also promote book donations during the text buy-back program at the end of winter semester.
The Romania library project came about after an article appeared in the Deseret News. Hack Miller, retired sports editor, was traveling through Romania with his wife and others a few months before Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown as Romania's president.
During Miller's visit, his tour guide expressed a deep need for educational materials. A fire during an upheaval in December 1989 destroyed many valuable collections of books and periodicals.
She said, "Please, if you have any materials, written in English, that you do not need, would you let me have them? We are without reading materials in our country. Just anything. Even gum wrappers if they have English written on them. Newspapers, magazines, books - anything!"
After seeing the Deseret News article, Elder Russell M. Nelson, of the Council of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, encouraged BYU to sponsor the project.
In a letter written to BYU Provost Bruce Hafen, the director of the Central University Library in Bucharest said, "The news that the students of BYU are willing to make an effort to help us in restoring the collections of books and periodicals has touched us deeply. It is a noble and generous act, which proves once more that the youth all over the world has common ideals and is eager for truth and beauty."
The Harold B. Lee Library will donate 3,000 to 5,000 books to the project from its duplicate collections and additional materials. Organizers of the book drive are asking BYU students and administrators, as well as Utah citizens, to donate the balance to reach the goal of 40,000 books.
They also are asking for volunteers to set up signs and bins and to retrieve and package books for shipping. For information on how to volunteer, call John Quereto at 378-2130.
The groups will collected the books periodically, package them and hold them until May 17 when all the 40,000 books are ready for shipment. The LDS Church will fund the transportation of books to Romania.
LDS mission leaders in Europe are expected to pick up the shipment and present the books to the Central University Library in Bucharest.