People looking for a gift to give this holiday season can find some ready to go at the Challis Public Library, where workers have their tree lined with free, wrapped books.

Library Director Becky Mitchell said they’ve been doing it for four years now, with everyone from adults to children stopping by to grab something each year.

“We’ve had a lot of great feedback,” Mitchell said. “It’s nice to get some smiles out there this time of year.”

The wrapped books have recommended age ranges on them, so people can tell who would best enjoy them, Mitchell said. Mostly children’s books go out the door, but Mitchell said plenty adults take books either for themselves or as gifts.

Mitchell said people don’t have to worry about contamination when it comes to picking up a present. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began last spring, Mitchell said she and library volunteers have been disinfecting books regularly and quarantining the ones that have been returned by patrons. Every book library workers plan to give away is safe, Mitchell said, just like the ones they sell.

To raise money for the library, Mitchell said workers sell books that get donated if they already have a copy on the shelves. In the past couple of months, Mitchell said the library received several generous book donations.

These donated books will also go under the tree, which Mitchell said helps create a book-recycling system. As people get bored of their books and give them away to library workers, it grows their collection. When they have enough of one book, Mitchell said they can give it to someone else to build their collection in turn.

“It lets them create their own libraries,” she said.

Recommended for you