book donation

Accepting the book donations on behalf of Tehachapi High school were, from left, Principal Scott Heitman and District Librarian Romana Turmezei, as presented by Douglas Hoffelt, STEM manager of the Air Force Test Center, and Thane Lundberg, aerospace engineer at Edwards Air Force Base and committee members of AST.

Local K-12 schools in the Tehachapi Unified School District recently received a generous donation of 370 books from the 412th Test Wing Library at Edwards Air Force Base. The books, which were dropped off at Tehachapi High School, will be distributed throughout the schools in January.

"It will help add to our collection and, hopefully, help kids as well as they search for books," said Ramona Turmezei, the district librarian. "We are really excited."

According to Turmezei, book donations are not common for local schools as each donated book must be evaluated and meet required criteria in terms of currency, topic and relevance.

In a world that has gone predominately digital, Turmezei said brick-and-mortar libraries are still an important part of education, research and enjoyment.

"Honestly, they might buy the Kindle, but they still want to have that book, and hold it," Turmezei said. "Everybody is thinking that libraries are something of the past, but that's not so, according to research. Even college students are having a hard time with all digital because they are not retaining as much."

The book donation consisted of children's picture books, juvenile fiction and non-fiction and adult non-fiction.

"We donate computers and books and whatever we can under the Educational Partnership Agreements," said Douglas Hoffelt, STEM manager of the Air Force Test Center. Hoffelt is in charge of EPA for Edwards Air Force Base.

According to Hoffelt, the Air Force does a "refresh" of 1,000 to 1,500 books a year, so a new home needed to be located for the discarded books.

"These are good-condition books," said Thane Lundberg, who is an aerospace engineer at Edwards Air Force Base as well as a committee member of Arts, Science and Technology of Tehachapi, an educational nonprofit.

According to Lundberg, an EPA was recently signed between Tehachapi Unified School District and the U.S. Air Force represented by the 412th Test Wing that provides the transfer of surplus Air Force resources and materials to local schools.

"This is the first example of the transfer of units," Lundberg said. "Shortly thereafter, we are going to be transferring over 140 computers to the Tehachapi Unified School District."

Tehachapi High Principal Scott Heitman said he was excited for the students to receive the book donation.

"This is a win-win for everybody, and we appreciate the donation and the thought," Heitman said.

With only five committee members on the AST board, Lundberg expressed the need for more volunteers to help with the operation of STEAM Center activities at Tehachapi High School.

For more information about AST or volunteer opportunities, contact Laura and Thane Lundberg at