Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) on Wednesday delivered $845 worth of books to Cohoes Middle School. The books came from the Library of Congress as part of their Book Surplus Program.
“There are books on canal history, New York history, American history,” Tonko said. “And that’s good stuff. It’s our fabric, our being, our sense of destination.”
The Library of Congress receives about 20,000 books per day, but can only house about 10,000. The surplus books are distributed around the country to libraries looking to expand their collections.
Middle school librarian Steve Lackmann heard about the program and decided to apply.
“These are books I wouldn’t have been able to get before,” Lackmann said. “There’s a lot of local history and it goes along well with what we’re teaching in the classroom.”
Rep. Tonko addressed the crowd of students and answered their questions on a range of topics from school safety to healthcare.
“Just like there are chronological generations, there are political generations,” Tonko said. “I believe that your generation is clustering around the axis of gun safety, school safety, net neutrality, climate change. I believe that you’ll be one of the most powerful political generations this nation has seen in a long time.”
Lackmann said it’s important for students to have the chance to interact with their elected representatives.
“Students don’t usually get the opportunity to hear directly from politicians,” Lackmann said. “One of these kids could be the next Mayor of Cohoes, or next congressman. You never know.”