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Agency regifting 'Today' books

March 14, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN

Head Start of Washington County Inc. is offering thousands of free books to the community - books they received from NBC's "Today" show.

The books are mostly outdated textbooks and manuals for aged software programs. Executive Director Paul Pittman said it is possible that Head Start might have to redonate the books if the public is not interested in the titles.

Head Start is a private, nonprofit agency that provides comprehensive child and family development services to low-income, at-risk populations throughout Washington County .

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At least three UPS trucks delivered 247 boxes filled with books two weeks ago, he said.

"We got a call from the 'Today' show, and they wanted to know if we would distribute some books to the community that they had donated to them," Pittman said. "We said, 'Sure.'"

Carol Hull, the program governance assistant, said it took staff members two weeks to sort through the books.

"There were three of some, and 300 of others," she said.

The books include mostly high school and college texts on algebra, accounting, chemistry and foreign languages, along with guides for the Internet and computer program manuals from the 1990s.

"Some of them are outdated, I think ... but they are there, and they are free," Pittman said. "And anyone can get them."

He said Head Start has fielded some calls from nonpublic schools and others interested in the books, which will be available at Head Start at least through Friday.

"We'll distribute as many as we can, and if nobody wants them, we'll see if there is some place we can donate them as well," Pittman said.

This was the first donation to Head Start from "Today." Pittman said "Today" often donates books they receive from publishers to community organizations.

"We're just doing it as a service to the community," he said. "I thought most of the books would be age and developmentally appropriate for us, but they are for an older population. We're going to distribute as many as we can."

Anyone interested in the books can see a partial list by going to Head Start's Web site, at www.headstartwashco.org. People can also go to Head Start administrative offices at 325 W. Memorial Blvd., between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, to look at the books.

For details, call Head Start at 301-733-0088.

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