In 2009, Darien Book Aid Plan celebrated 60 years of continuous operation. We were founded in May of 1949 when Mrs. Gordon Lamont of Darien conceived the idea of sending good reading material to share the American way of life with war-torn Europe. Gathering some friends together and with the help of Ambassador John Davis Lodge and other government officials and generous contributions from Darien residents, Darien Book Aid Plan was formed.
Book collection containers were placed in stores, schools, and churches in Darien. The Red Cross, school children, and the Kiwanis Club helped with the collections.
The women first worked in an old school building with no heat or facilities. By wearing gloves, sweaters, and ski suits they persevered. After stints in several makeshift quarters, they purchased the old Noroton Fire House in 1959. Book Aid has been at 1926 Post Road ever since.
For many years, we enjoyed financial support from the government -- first from the State Department and then from the Peace Corps. Currently we have no government or other organization affiliation. We depend on contributions to pay our shipping costs.
Book Aid started as a women’s volunteer group; men were invited to join in 1986. They have been a vital part of the organization ever since.
The four boxes shipped in 1949 are now 20-30 boxes each week. Between 16 and 20 tons each year go to 190 countries and all 50 of the United States.
The Book Aid motto continues to be very appropriate today: "To promote peace, understanding and friendship by the free distribution of books."