Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Summer of Giving Enriches Children
Satisfied customers leave with a new book.
Monday, June 22, 2020


The 4-year-old looked up wide eyed as Helen Morgus and Jett Carruth thumbed through dozens of books to try to find the perfect book for a 4-year-old.

“Do I get to keep this?” she asked.

“Yes, you do! You can start your own library,” said Community Library children’s librarian Helen Morgus as she stuffed the book and a box of crayons into a Bloom swag bag.

This youngster settled for “The Adventures of Captain Underpants,” about a superhero whose true identity is so secret even HE doesn’t know who he is.

Dozens of children in the Wood River Valley have been able to start their own book collections this summer.

The Community Library’s children’s library has been giving away free books, snacks and activity kits to Blaine County children through the month of June and it expects to continue into July until the books run out.

“Our summer interns and I gave out 150 bags at five different locations during the first week—it was a very happy scene,” said Morgus. “We like practicing generosity at a time some of us are feeling scarcity.”

Every summer the library partners with The Hunger Coalition, taking its mobile lending library around on the Bloom truck, which provides lunches to children from late June through mid-August. But this year it had the opportunity to piggyback on the Blaine County School District’s lunch distribution, begun with a pandemic grant in April.

Helen Morgus sorts through books for a youngster at the Hemingway STEAM location.

Morgus and the library’s summer interns--Elisabeth Ruiz Loera, Jett Carruth, Lila Pogue and Lupe Hurtado—have been loading books into their own vehicles and joining the meal handouts.

And, rather than lending books, they’ve been giving them to kids to keep, thanks to a grant from the Papoose Club and a donation from Hailey residents Don and Marcia Liebich that enabled children’s librarian De Ann Campbell to purchase 500 books geared for toddlers on up.

Even young adults, who don’t typically show up to check out books from Bloom truck, have been showing up for the book distributions this spring.

“The Bloom truck will resume its normal distribution on June 29 when the school district’s grant runs out, but I think we will be able to continue to give out books for a while,” said Morgus.

“The New Year’s Sleepover from the Black Lagoon” follows Hubie as he spends his first night away from home.

Several families have come each week, excited kids ready to snap up such books as, “A Color of His Own,” “Harry Potter and the Chamber Secrets,” “Bone” and “Judy Blume’s “Superfudge.” And members of a YMCA Day Camp look forward to their walk to Hemingway STEAM School for lunch and a book, said camp leader Cheryl Zimmerman.

One young camper, not known to be an avid reader, was given a copy of “Amulet,” about the adventures of a little girl who gets her grandfather’s amulet. And he couldn’t wait to come back to get the sequel, Zimmerman said.

“The children love this,” she added. “Everybody gets food so there’s no stigma. And it’s given us a destination when during a time when we weren’t allowed to play in parks because of the pandemic.”

Numerous children have signed up for the library’s summer reading program because of the extra initiative, Morgus said.

Jett Carruth says he’s delighted to share his passion for reading with others.

“Whatever the age, some just need a little spark,” she said.

Carruth, a Wood River High School student, says he’s loved books ever since a youngster. Morgus, in fact, remembers his mother making frequent trips to check out books for her children.

“It’s so much fun help others get started reading,” said Carruth. “We’re outside and we get to make people happy.”


  • June 1-26

    Monday, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Carey School

    Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.-noon, The Meadows south of Ketchum; 1-2 p.m. Hemingway STEAM School in Ketchum

    Wednesday, 11-11:30 a.m., Bellevue Elementary School

    Thursday, 1-2 p.m. Hemingway STEAM School

    Friday, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Kiwanis Park by Balmoral Apartments in Hailey

  • June 29-Aug. 14 at the Bloom Truck

Monday and Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. Carey Fairgrounds; 1 p.m. Bellevue Park

Tuesday and Thursday, 11:30 a.m. The Meadows soccer field; 1 p.m. Hemingway STEAM School

Friday, Balmoral Apartments, 11:30 a.m. Kiwanis park, Hailey


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