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Book Angel program

Heather Bedford, left, stands near a display for the new "Book Angel" program with Leslie Sevier at The Bookstore in Lompoc. Bedford is a member of the Rancho Purisima Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which teamed with The Bookstore, owned by Sevier, for the project.

Contributed photo

A pair of local organizations has teamed for a reading program aimed at benefiting Lompoc-area students, educators and libraries.

The “Book Angel” program was jump-started last month thanks to a partnership between the Rancho Purisima Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and The Bookstore in Lompoc.

Through the new project, teachers at both public and private schools, Lompoc-area librarians and local children are able to fill out “wish” forms to request books. The forms are kept in a binder at The Bookstore, where donor “angels” can purchase the requested selections, which will then be delivered by DAR members to the person who made the request.

Anyone who fulfills a wish by purchasing and donating a book will get a 100 percent tax-deductible receipt, according to organizers.

The program was developed by the DAR and Leslie Sevier, who owns The Bookstore and is also on the Friends of the Lompoc Library System’s board of directors.

“When we started looking at our education and literacy goals of our DAR chapter, we wanted to come up with a way to provide books to the children of our community and support our libraries and teachers in the classrooms,” said Heather Bedford, vice regent of the local DAR chapter.

“When you look at the reports from the education field that reveal that the presence of books in the home has a greater influence on a child’s level of education than does the parents’ income, nationality or level of education, it makes you realize how simple and easy it can be to influence (children’s) lives,” she added. “Having as few as 20 books in the home has a significant impact on a child’s ascent to a higher level of education.”

Presently, one of the top ways for local children to get books to their home is through the Charlotte’s Web Mobile Children’s Library, or bookmobile, which the Lompoc Public Library began operating in early 2016. The bookmobile, which frequently travels to locations throughout the Lompoc Valley, has a wish list on its website that is filled through Amazon. One of the goals of the “Book Angel” program is to have those purchases made at a local shop, rather than online, and help boost Lompoc’s economy.

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“The ‘Book Angel’ program is up and running at The Bookstore and we are hard at work with the library and the Lompoc Unified School District to get the word out to all the teachers and the librarians about the free program and how it works,” Bedford said. “We are encouraging the public to embrace this program, go to The Bookstore to purchase and donate a book off of the wish list, and help our local children to enrich their reading skills and empower their ambitions.”

The DAR is an all-volunteer, nonpolitical, nonpartisan, nonprofit public benefit organization with a simple mission of promoting historic preservation, education and patriotism, according to the organization.

The Bookstore is located at 1137 North H St., Suite Q.

For more information on the “Book Angel” program, contact Bedford at 315-6672 or The Bookstore by visiting between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays or 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekends or by calling the shop at 735-9729.

Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.