Lindsey Curewitz has spread her love of reading — 27,000 times over. The 17-year-old’s book drive for the Trenton Free Public Library was so successful that the library ran out of room for the donated volumes.
“It started as a project to clean some of the books in my room,” said Lindsey, a resident of Yardley, Pa. “My parents told me no more books until I got rid of some of the ones I had. I didn’t want to throw them away because they meant a lot to me.” She also collected audio books, DVDs, cassettes, and games.
Giving is not new to Lindsey: She is a member of the Jewish Community Youth Foundation and its youth advisory board. Run through the Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County, each participating teen’s annual contribution of at least $120 is matched by both United Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks and the Ricky and Andrew J. Shechtel Philanthropic Fund.
A senior at Pennsbury High School, Lindsey got the books from retailers like Barnes and Noble, the Pennsbury school district, and from friends and strangers who dropped off books by the boxload, especially after articles about her project appeared in the Trentonian and New Jersey Jewish News.
“We made a few drop-offs at the library as our car filled up,” she said. “Then we started to put them out in the garage, and when it got too full, the library would come and fill two and three vanfuls.”
Lindsey’s project, dubbed “Books Going Places,” was recognized Nov. 16 by library officials and Trenton Mayor Douglas Palmer, who presented her with a certificate for outstanding community service at library headquarters on Academy Street.
Susan Sternberg, the assistant library director who worked with Lindsey on the project, said the previous largest donation ever received by the library was 300 books. “We are thrilled and overwhelmed by the sheer number and quality of books that Lindsey arranged to have donated to us,” she said. “She is a remarkable young woman.”
As a result of the donation, Friends of the Trenton Free Public Library will be able to hold its first book sale in many years, Dec. 10-12.
Lindsey and her family also pack and deliver food parcels for the Philadelphia-based Jewish Relief Agency one Sunday each month. This past summer, as a member of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Mitzvah Corps, she helped rebuild a New Orleans school wiped out by Hurricane Katrina.