Emily Shi (10) spearheads book drive for hospital

Adam Frommer and Marina Kazarian

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Emily Shi (10) will host a book drive outside of the library next Tuesday through Friday to collect texts for patients at the White Plains Hospital.

Shi’s project’s goal is to provide patients with more access to literature during their hopstial stays and increase the quality of the hospital visit, she said.

The idea for the drive began with Shi’s volunteer work at the White Plains Hospital last summer as a nursing assistant, she said. While working the job, Shi realized that many patients did not have access to reading materials during their stay due to the hospital’s small collection of literature, she said.

After a meeting with the volunteer coordinators at the hospital, Shi decided to start a book drive at the school to give patients the option to select books that genuinely interest them and make them feel more at home, she said.

“All of the books will go to our book cart in the hospital,” said White Plains Hospital Volunteer Coordinator Laura Sobel. “The patients are always so happy to have a distraction from their day, from the medical procedure, and to engage in non-clinical conversations about the books.

“I visit a lot of patients who like to use reading as a pastime activity, but because the books [at the hospital] are mostly old and out of date, it was always difficult to find the perfect story for them,” said Shi.

In a recent email advertising the drive, Shi encouraged students to also include a summary of their book so the patients at the hospital will be able to select texts that interest them, she said. The summaries will be printed and attached to the corresponding book, she said.

“I hope that the reviews and summaries will help patients feel a connection with others while also being able to choose a specific story based on their interests,” Shi said.

To implement her project at the school, Shi met with Library Department Chair Caroline Bartels and Upper Division Dean of Students Student Delanty to discuss the logistics of the drive, Delanty said.

“I think that many of the students at the school have a wide selection of texts, but have either read them all or are never going to read them,” Shi said. “Why not donate them to the people who want and needs them?”

“Hopefully students and faculty who contribute will stop and think about the person receiving the book and review and how happy it will make the patient,” said Bartels.

Jessica Thomas (11) believes that books are something she takes for granted and that giving away her texts to the patients will help boost her happiness as well as the patients’, she said.

“Reading is a really good way for the patients to escape whatever they are going through and just focus on the plot of the book,” said Thomas.

“However, at the same time, simultaneously, the books make wyou realize that your predicament, sickness and health, is experienced by the characters in the book and to see that these ups and down is what makes us human,” English Department Chair Vernon Wilson said.

Shi’s motivation for the drive stems from her own experiences with literature; as a child, she enjoyed receiving books and wanted to pass on that opportunity to others, she said.

“Literature helps to spread important morals and stories to various people, and each person can take away a different unique message from a story,” Shi said.