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Finding a welcome home for used books

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Growing up in a family that loved to read, Mazor couldn't tolerate so many children lacking books. "In affluent communities, people were often just sort of tossing the books away because they didn't know what to do with them," he says. "We could match up that need with that resource."

It's a simple idea, but for librarians like Carla Clauschee, no one had ever proposed it before. When Mazor called her at Navajo Pine High School in Navajo, N.M., telling her he could send books, she replied, "That's great – but I can't pay for them."

Ms. Clauschee agreed to his offer because she was "really desperate," she says. Every librarian can tell horror stories of useless donations showing up at their doorstep, so "when somebody comes along and genuinely wants to help ... you have to think positive. You have to think that the box that's coming is not moth-eaten." Thanks to her trust, a once "prehistoric" collection has been updated over the past seven years with more than 7,000 books, including collections of native American literature.

"We want every single box of books that a school opens to be in absolutely fantastic condition, to be like a Christmas present," Mazor says as he casts his eye around the basement book haven that serves as Reader to Reader headquarters.

The group long ago moved out of Mazor's garage to the storage area of Amherst College's Cadigan Center for Religious Life, a squat brick building on the edge of campus. The college donated the space and some computers, and also coordinates student work-study jobs and internships here.

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