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Book lover Donald Chvatal's collection given to Aloha Community Library

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Ellen Mickanin, a board member with Aloha Community Library Association, holds some of the books that was donated by Donald Chvatal's family to the library. Donald Chvatal lived a life surrounded by books as a librarian, publisher, library consultant and avid reader.

When he died last month at age 75, he left his five grown daughters surrounded by those books.

And they knew just what to do: The Chvatal family donated nearly 1,000 volumes of their father’s book collection to the Aloha Community Library, which next summer will become the newest member of Washington County Cooperative Library Services.

Janet Chvatal said her father had lived closer to the Cedar Mill Community Library, but that site is well-established and has had decades of support.

“We wanted to find a library in need,” said daughter Janet Chvatal, who helped arrange the donation. “Aloha needs that kind of support.”

Another sister, Jessica Leitner, is executive director of Aloha-based Edwards Center Inc., which provides a full range of services to people with developmental disabilities.

The center has formed a bond with the library, which provides materials and other services to their clients, Leitner said.

Janet Chvatal said her father was among the first U.S. businesspeople to travel to China during the 1970s to share his expertise in library sciences as diplomacy increased between the nations.

His book collection included pristine classics of fiction and nonfiction, and a range of other titles. Some are in flawless slip cases and most are too old to have modern bar codes, said Ellen Mickanin, a member of the Aloha Community Library Association’s board who oversees its book sales.TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Donald Chvatal's book collection was donated to Aloha Community Library Association.

Mickanin showed a few of the 30-plus boxes of books, where she found “The Poems of Emily Dickinson,” “Twice-Told Tales” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky among titles about China, psychology, philosophy, biographies and more.

Mickanin and Janet Chvatal said the library may establish a sort of “Don Chvatal Memorial Classics Corner” area that would display a selection of his classic books, perhaps 100 or so exceptional titles that guests, even youngsters, could peruse at the library but probably not check out.

“What a wonderful way to honor their father’s memory,” Mickanin said. “We would never be able to afford these particular books. These are the Lotus (cars) and we would be buying the Ford Pintos.”

Many of the remaining donated books will be sold online or at its local sales, one of the community library’s sources of operating income, Mickanin said.

“We’re such a small library. This makes such a big difference to us financially,” said Mickanin, who didn’t know how much money the sales eventually could bring but said it likely is several thousand. “For us, this is a very significant donation.”TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Ellen Mickanin, a board member with Aloha Community Library Association, stands by a book collection that was donated by Donald Chvatal's family to ACLA.


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