A collection of books for the children’s library at Sandy Hook Elementary School will soon be en route to Newton, Conn., as a gift from Mercyhurst University. It is hoped that the books will help in the healing process for the children victimized by December’s mass shooting and serve as a memorial to Mary Sherlach, the school psychologist who died in that tragedy. Mary is the mother of Mercyhurst graduate Katy Sherlach, a chemistry/forensic science major who received the Bishop’s Award for Academic Excellence at the 2009 Commencement.
Janet Lexow, director of the Ridge Library at North East, spearheaded the effort to gather donations, in all collecting 50 books valued at $589.23. Many of the titles deal with grief and loss from a child’s perspective. A memorial bookplate from the university will be affixed to each book before they are shipped to Connecticut.
In reaching out to her Mercyhurst family for support, Lexow said, “As members of the Mercyhurst University community, with a Catholic and Mercy mission to higher education, our connection to this tragedy through one of our own is very strong.”
Among those donating were the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and, closer to home, Jennifer Berke, assistant professor of education at North East, who regularly donates books to the university’s education collection. Numerous others supplemented their efforts.
“Janet’s compassion and healing nature served as the driving force behind this gift,” said Darci Jones, director of university libraries and distance learning, in commending her colleague.
PHOTO: Janet Lexow