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Paying It Forward

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

Remember back in college, the effort to purchase books on a budget? I do. I recall getting the ones that were used and marked up. I didn’t mind, after all, I was a margin writer leaving notes and comment all throughout the pages of any book I read that I owned.

I always liked science books which is why it is so easy for me to volunteer for the GSH Sheriff Technical Library. The library builds on the foundation of Robert Sheriff’s personal library of 236 titles and has grown to over 2,300+ catalogued titles through the generous donation of GSH member’s technical books. The GSH volunteers sort through the donated books placing unique titles in the Sheriff Technical Library. The non-unique books continue their literary life in our Members Free Library, Universities and ‘Books for Development’ around the world.

The Members Free Library is located at the GSH Geocience Center where active members can come by to take free books. We have colleagues that may have lost technical books in recent Houston flood(s) or other disaster and the free library helps them rebuild their personal library or supplement their library with a book they often wanted but didn’t get. Not a member? Not to worry. We ask for a small monetary donation to the center in exchange for a book to keep these programs going or perhaps become a member.

The GSH also partners with Universities for book distributions. On November 12th, GSH met with Associate Professors from Stephen F Austin, Julie Bloxson (Figure 1) and Liane Stevens (Figure 2). Their students Ariana Rodriguez and Ian McReynolds (Figure 3) received five cases of geology books to take back to share with their fellow students and department (Figure 4). Recall the memory of buying books on a budget at college? GSH members’ donations and partnerships with Universities are making a difference one book at a time with one student at a time with free technical books.

Figure 4: Five cases of geology books to take back to share with their fellow students and department.

The overflow books are then marked for 'Books for Development' which is an organization through the Methodist Church for placement of books in developing countries with needs to supply their small, growing libraries. Americans are so accustomed to the internet having access to information at any time we often forget that not everyone has this luxury. The GSH members are all too happy to pay it forward to help others. To date, 60 cases of books have been donated to 'Books for Development' for world libraries.

Come visit the library located at 1790 W Sam Houston Pkway N, Houston, Texas 77043 in the GSH Geoscience Center. The hours of operations are Monday - Thursday, 9 am until 5 pm, and by appointment Friday and Saturday. We are looking for volunteers, donations Geoscience Center Donation (, books and bookcases for the goal of paying it forward.



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