Congressman spreads the wealth of written words

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

Congressman Paul Tonko reads “Barnyard Boogie!” to a group of (mostly) attentive youngsters at the Voorheesville Public Library in 2018. Tonko brought with him 34 books, donated by the Library of Congress. He’ll make a similar donation to the Guilderland library on Wednesday.

GUILDERLAND — In recent years, Congressman Paul Tonko has, through the Library of Congress Surplus Books Program, distributed books locally to an English class at Berne-Knox-Westerlo, to the historic library in Rensselaerville — with titles ranging from “American Wino” to “On Edge” — and to the Voorheesville Public Library where he read “Barnyard Boogie!” to a roomful of youngsters sprawled on the floor.

On Wednesday, he’ll donate books — 31 are expected, with a retail value of about $742 — to the Guilderland Public Library, which requested those with a focus on sports, health, and wellness.

Since September 2017, Tonko has visited more than 50 schools, libraries, and not-for-profits, delivering more than 1,640 books, valued at over $35,900, according to a release from the Guilderland library.

The Library of Congress receives more than 20,000 items every day, and only half of those materials remain in its permanent collection. The rest are allocated to the Surplus Books Program for members of Congress to retrieve and donate.

Tonko will discuss that program at 10 a.m. on Feb. 19 as he makes his donation. He’ll then take questions from the audience. All are welcome to attend.

The library is located at 2228 Western Ave. in Guilderland.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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