STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
Get a free book and a free coat at the Johnson City Library.
The free outerwear is courtesy of Operation Warm, a group committed to providing new coats to children in need across North America.
So why the odd giveaway combination?
In May, the library hosted “Dìa De Los Ninos/Dìa De Los Libros,” a free children’s literacy program. During the program, kids received free books from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Several weeks ago, librarian Maggie Goodman received an email from the commission asking her details about how her library handed out the books for a chance to win a grand prize of $1,000 to purchase more books.
“We won,” Goodman said.
While on the website to buy more books using the winnings, Goodman saw a link for free clothing and clicked. The link took her to Operation Warm.
To receive the free coats from Operation Warm, libraries have to also give away free books.
“Operation Warm wants to help promote libraries, so people who don’t come into the library get acquainted with it,” she said. “They want to help promote libraries by getting people in the door.”
The local library began handing out coats Jan. 5 in observance of Three Kings Day or Epiphany, when Christians celebrate the day the three Magi arrived to find Jesus. Epiphany fell on Jan. 6 this year.
So far, the library has given away 79 coats, but there are many left. Interested families can go to the library, 501 Nugent Ave., to pick up jackets.
“Operation Warm wants people to know how important libraries are to families,” Goodman said. “We’d like for parents to bring kids when they pick up coats.”