Rebekah “Becky” Daubert was born, raised, and educated in Lebanon County. Now, she’s an English teacher putting books in the hands of her neighbors.
“The Crazy Book Lady,” she explained, “was a name that was given to me after I started giving out books. It was kind of a joke among some of the other vendors because they were selling things and I was giving things out for free … but, it stuck. Actually, one of the other vendors made me an apron … that says, ‘The Crazy Book Lady.'”
Daubert’s book stand, like her nickname, came about organically.
In early 2018, Daubert was teaching English Language Arts in Lebanon School District when she noticed that the number of students who were reading for fun had dropped. This observation ignited her search for a way to encourage her students to read more.
“I found that it wasn’t that the kids didn’t like to read. It was that they were having trouble getting access to things they really enjoyed,” Daubert said. “So, I took it upon myself to start collecting things that they enjoyed and giving them out.”
Word about Daubert’s mission to collect books for her students spread. People from Lebanon County and beyond started reaching out to Daubert to ask questions, donate books, and provide funds for the stand.
“At the end of my school year in 2018, I had so many books I didn’t know what to do with them,” Daubert said. “And they weren’t all for young adults. … I had Clive Cussler and Stephen King and things that eighth-graders aren’t necessarily going to read. So, I had a lot of books. And I didn’t exactly know what to do with them.”
Surrounded by piles of books, Daubert was forced to rethink her vision and pivot.
“Part of the reason that I was doing what I was doing was … I wanted my students to read more,” Daubert said. “And the more I thought about it, just getting books into my students’ hands wasn’t enough. If I really wanted to create a more literate community, which was ultimately my goal, I would need the adults in the community to read more too.”
In addition to fostering literacy, Daubert wanted people to experience the joy of reading and be able to share it with others, as she did. Growing up, Daubert and her father read horror for fun and bonded over their shared interest in the genre.
During the summer of 2018, Daubert connected with Melanie Wells, who happened to be opening a market at the old train station on 8th Street. Daubert pitched her book stand to Wells. She loved it.
The book stand started that summer and has been growing ever since.
As Daubert put it, “There’s not a shortage of books.”
One highlight for Daubert was setting up the stand at the Spinstock Flow Arts Festival in Coleman Memorial Park a few years ago. The festival attracted families to Daubert’s collection of board books and best-sellers.
“That’s probably one of the most fun things for me if I can have a family walk up to the stand and I can give a personal book recommendation to every single person in the family from the smallest child to the oldest adult, and everybody walks away with something,” Daubert said.
Today, Daubert focuses on bringing books to Lebanon City.
“What I’m doing really comes from my love for the city,” Daubert said. “I loved my experience growing up here, and I want people to like it as much as I do, and I want people to continue to learn and grow and want to make things better here.”
You can find Daubert this summer at St. Benedict the Abbot’s church festival on July 29, Sydney Roasting Co. on Aug. 5, and Scott Church’s “The Church” on Aug. 13.
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