A bookstore owner in Brattleboro is donating books to the Police Department for individuals who have to spend the night locked up, waiting to be arraigned.
A woman who was picked up recently asked Brattleboro Police Officer Ryan Washburn if there was a book around she could read while she spent the night inside the tiny cell at the station.
“Sometimes a person can be there all weekend. There are no windows, and there’s nothing to do but sit there,” Washburn said. “So why not try to better yourself, read something and make your time more enjoyable?”
There were only two books in the station — a couple of old science-fiction paperbacks that Washburn said have “seen better days.”
So later on when he was walking the beat downtown, Washburn wandered into Everyone’s Books, an independent bookstore that specializes in books that promote peace, environmental awareness and political change.
Nancy Braus has co-owned Everyone’s Books for 34 years, and her store has been the starting point for countless political actions and marches through Brattleboro.
So when Washburn asked if she’d donate some books for the folks who are spending a night or two in the cell, Braus was game.
“Giving something back to the community is certainly something I strongly believe in,” Braus said. “And as an activist, I feel like it’s the only way we’re ever going to have livable communities, is if we all help each other.”
Braus said she didn't just grab a self-help book or a story that might change someone's life; instead she picked some titles that might help the reader escape their reality for a bit.
“I just wanted to give them some books that I felt people might get engaged with because they’re stuck in jail,” Braus said. “Hopefully the books are readable and maybe they transport them to a better place.”
Braus said she’s got plenty of advanced copies that publishers send her which can’t be sold. And she told Washburn that if somebody wants to take a book home, she’s cool with that. She’s happy to restock the lending library any time.