Bookstore serves community one book at a time

Local4 News at 5
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 9:13 AM CST
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AURORA, Neb. (KSNB) - Although the holiday season is behind us, people can still make an impact on their community no matter the distance.

Susan’s Books and Gifts serves the central Nebraska community by donating books to schools, jails, pastors, and any organization that needs them.

All the books in the bookstore have been donated and are sold for $2. They also offset travel expenses on gas by discounting customers 10 cents for every mile.

“We strongly believe that books change lives, no mater if someone brings us a whole truckload of books, or if someone else brings us just one book,” said owner of Susan’s Books and Gifts, Susan Williams. “The one book that someone brought still might hold the one paragraph, with the one sentence, with the one thought, that changes someone’s entire life, and we believe that wholeheartedly.”

Susan says the joy she sees when customers finds a quality book at a convenient price is her passion. Susan and her husband Stu own the bookstore.

Susan is a former teacher and her husband currently teaches anatomy and physiology at Central Community College in Grand Island.

Customers have traveled from cities such as Lincoln, Omaha, and Columbus to donate and shop for books at Susan’s Books and Gifts. The donations that Susan’s does has been in blood since the very beginning.

“We have all 20 years given books away, and that was from the background of both of our parents being in different organizations that did things for people,” said Susan. “My parents put books along the interstate here, ingraining in us that books that are purchased in these gas stations will change someone’s life, if they’ve opened the book they buy at midnight.”

Susan says people have came from as far as Sioux City to donate to the store. She has also seen all ranges of emotional attachment to books come through her store.

“Every spectrum of emotion walks through this door, and it’s like a portal where they realize, this is a really special place,” said Susan. “They don’t realize, the words on the wall, but they do realize on these walls are millions of words, and they may be one sentence that changes your life.”

On the walls in Susan’s Books and Gifts the words “Life is beautiful” is written in several different languages. There is also a poem about a mother’s love for her child on the opposite wall.

Susan says it’s amazing that people want a place to take their books and to be apart of something special. Some have seen the impact of the store first hand.

“One young man came in and he was about ten years old and I told him he could get a free book,” said volunteer Barb Micek. “His free book was a bible, and he said he’d never read a bible before. Susan has always said one book can change someone’s life.”

Barb says she doesn’t think Susan realizes how many lives she has changed with simply giving a book. Susan also gives to York Women’s prison, they usually get books on parenting and self motivation.