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Good Neighbors: Random Reads collects used books, donates surprise book bundles to WNYers

"I always joke we're a lot sloppier than a library because we don't use the Dewey Decimal System," joked the Amherst mom who started Random Reads.

AMHERST, N.Y. — Rea Fromm's basement in her Amherst home is filled with shelves stacked with books organized by genre, interests, comics, self help, and children's reading levels and ages. 

"I always joke we're a lot sloppier than a library because we don't use the Dewey Decimal System," she laughed.

Fromm and her family just had too many books and just before Christmas in 2020 she said she wanted to find a fun way to get rid of them.

"I jumped on my local Buy Nothing group (on Facebook) and said, 'who would be interested in these little packs of books that'll come to you based on your interests?' and it kind of blew up," Fromm said.

In just over a year Fromm's collected and distributed over 1,000 books. She calls it Random Reads. Through her Facebook page, people can make requests based on age, interest, or genre and Fromm surprises them with packets five to seven books.

"I'll pick out specific things that they like," Fromm said. "Then I'll go off of that and give them a couple of new things to try and see if it'll spark some interest in something different."

Her 9-year-old daughter Hayden, a 4th grader at Willow Ridge Elementary in the Sweet Home district, is her little helper.

"I go to the kids section and I grab a book that the title sounds like the kid would like it and then I look through it. I read a page or two and I decide if that would be a good book for the kid," said Hayden.

And as if that wasn't enough, they personally gift wrap every packet of books, because that's what they are: gifts.

"They can keep them, pass them on, bring them back. Once they leave here they're yours to do whatever you'd like with," said Fromm.

She asks the recipients to pick up the books from her home, but in special cases she'll make deliveries.

From teachers, to foster families, to grandparents who want books for their grandkids, to the homebound who want to stay busy during the pandemic, Random Reads has been a gift for so many, just like the books themselves.

"We keep doing it because it makes people so happy and that's what makes us happy," Fromm said.

If you have gently used books you'd like to donate, or if you'd like to request a bundle of books, just visit the Random Reads Facebook page by clicking here.

To nominate a "Good Neighbor" to be featured on Channel 2, send an email to Melissa.Holmes@wgrz.com . 

To see past "Good Neighbor" stories, click the links below: