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MercyOne Receives a Book Donation

Des Moines, Iowa – January 17, 2020

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Gumdrop Books and the Fitzgerald family have been made aware of an important book donation request from MercyOne in Des Moines, Iowa, a hospital that is 102 miles north of our facility. Dane Pratt, a cardiovascular perfusionist, reads to sick children in the pediatric intensive care unit to let them know they aren’t alone. "It gives the patient a chance for the heart and lungs to rest, and the body to recuperate," he said. Pratt requested help with book donations so he can keep reading to children. Click here to see the article from"

The Fitzgerald family responded to Pratt’s request by sending him box of fiction books. We are committed to helping children in nearby communities, especially when it enriches their lives. We greatly admire Pratt’s kindness and dedication of reading to kids who need help the most.


South Harrison Athletic Department Builds a New Facility

Bethany, Missouri – September 5, 2019

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The Fitzgerald Family Trust Fund made a generous donation to the South Harrison Athletic Department. A ribbon cutting ceremony with the Fitzgerald family and athletic teams was held to introduce The Harold & Gail Fitzgerald Fieldhouse to the school and the community. The new facility offers an indoor recreational space providing access to batting/pitching cages and wrestling mats. The students are very excited about this new sports facility. One parent stated, "My son will be spending the next 6 years in there to practice wrestling."


Outstanding School Library Program of the Year: Camdenton R-III School District

Osage Beach, Missouri – March 26, 2019

West Plains R-7 - Group

Gumdrop Books honors an exemplary program demonstrating strength in the areas of Foundations, Building the Learning Environment, Teaching and Learning, Building Collaborative Partnerships, Advocacy and Outreach, and Leadership, and is modeled after the AASL National School Library Program of the Year Award. The Camdenton Library Program embraces their district’s vision of Everyone Learning Every Day! and supports this vision through providing equitable learning opportunities and resources to all students and staff. Their libraries provide nurturing environments in which inquiry is highly valued. They support their teachers and students throughout the learning process and encourage them to share with others through the effective use of ideas and information. Their goal is to provide access to information and resources while building connections that support their kids and teachers in reaching their fullest potentials.

Over the last eight years, the library program has transformed to meet today’s needs of their district. Learning from other amazing school libraries and working closely as a collaborative group has given them the inspiration and skills to accomplish their goals. The library program actively plays a role in instruction and blended learning while still promoting the love of reading and creativity. District administration has supported their program and ensured the library media centers continued to play essential roles in the education of our students.

The Camdenton Library Media Program includes seven library media specialists:

  • Shelli Young, Dogwood Elementary
  • Erin Kaminski, Osage Beach Elementary
  • Lori Covington, Hurricane Deck Elementary
  • Dawn Moore, Hawthorne Elementary
  • Michelle Neal, Oak Ridge Intermediate
  • Heather DeLaurent, Camdenton Middle School
  • Sheena Self, Camdenton High School

They are beyond excited to have received the 2019 Outstanding School Library Program Award. Having received this recognition will serve as motivation to continue learning, changing, and meeting the needs of their district.


West Plains R-7 Receives a $2,500 Outstanding School Library Program of the Year Grant

West Plains, Missouri – April 17, 2018

West Plains R-7 - Group

The West Plains R-7 School District received the Outstanding School Library Program of the Year Award from The Missouri Association of School Librarians (MASL). The award included a $2,500 grant that was given to the West Plains Middle School librarian, Heather Hufstedler, at the MASL Conference. Heather also serves on the MASL Board as a Director for the Southern Region. The organization strives to help Missouri libraries transform physically, virtually, and philosophically to meet the needs of students, staff, parents, and community.

MASL offered this new award to recognize an outstanding school library program. This award honors an exemplary program demonstrating strength in the areas of Foundations, Building the Learning Environment, Teaching and Learning, Building Collaborative Partnerships, Advocacy and Outreach, and Leadership, and is modeled after the AASL National School Library Program of the Year Award. The grant was funded by the Fitzgerald Family Trust of Gumdrop Books in Bethany, Missouri.


About Gumdrop Books and the Fitzgerald Family Trust Fund

For over 40 years, family-owned Gumdrop Books has been passionately committed to the pursuit of curiosity and a love of reading by providing learning resources that help to lay the foundation for children and young adults. The Fitzgerald Family Trust Fund is used by the owners of Gumdrop Books, the Fitzgerald family, to help local and national causes and programs.

(Pictured from left to right: Chris Batscha (foundation representative), Nick Fitzgerald (foundation representative), Heather Hufstedler, Librarian, Erica Walker, Assistant Principal, and Wes Davis, Principal.)


PAISD receives donation from Gumdrop Books


Rockport, Texas – April 4, 2018

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Nine-hundred books recently were donated to three different school districts in the Coastal Bend, including Port Aransas ISD, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Gumdrop Books, a family owned book business from Bethany, Missouri, donated the books to PAISD, Aransas County ISD and Aransas Pass ISD during a ceremony at Live Oak Learning Center Central Library in Rockport on Wednesday, March 31.

Our family has deep roots in Texas, and we want to do our part in the recovery,” said Brett Fitzgerald, regional sales manager for Gumdrop Books.

H.G. Olsen Elementary School Principal Gina McKeever and Meghan Zigmond, who is the new PAISD librarian, made the trip to Rockport to receive the donation.


(New Port Aransas ISD librarian Meghan Zigmond stands with Brett Fitzgerald, a regional sales manager for Gumdrop Books of Bethany, Mo. Zigmond, along with H.G. Olsen Elementary School Principal Gina McKeever, attended an event in Rockport on Wednesday, March 28, during which 900 books were donated to three school districts, PAISD, Aransas County ISD and Aransas Pass ISD. Courtesy photo)


Students at Symonds Elementary School Get Excited Over an Unusual Visitor in the Media Center

KEENE, New Hampshire – March 6, 2018

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The whole school was buzzing with excitement at Symonds Elementary School in Keene, New Hampshire, when a dinosaur visited the Media Center for a week. The Media Generalist, Brenda Haechen, hosted the Mr. Dinosaur event for the Kindergarten to 2nd grade students to create excitement about reading and coming into the Media Center. The 3rd and 4th graders protested because they didn’t want to be left out of the fun! During this event, students of all ages filled the library and increased circulation – 96 dinosaur books were checked out, along with many other titles.

Not only did the students enjoy having a dinosaur on display, so did the faculty. Teachers were ecstatic because Mr. Dinosaur sparked imagination and curiosity in the students’ minds. Even the PTA held their meeting in the Media Center that week to hang out with the dinosaur.

Symonds Elementary School really enjoyed the Mr. Dinosaur event and was very impressed with the results and excitement it created in their students.

Mr. Dinosaur travels to libraries in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. To host a dinosaur event in a school library or public school, call Gumdrop Books at 1-800-821-7199.



Gumdrop Books™ Global Solutions Now Offers a Better Way to Teach and Learn Foreign Languages

BETHANY, Missouri – February 21, 2018

Gumdrop Books™ Global Solutions

As ethnic diversity continues to flourish in our schools and communities, Gumdrop Books has launched a new line of Global Solutions offerings that is dedicated to fostering curiosity and providing learning opportunities for all students. With its unique product offerings, including the AV2 World Languages series from Weigl, ESL/ELL and foreign language educators can align their curriculum with leading resources that support technology in the classroom and promote parent involvement. Additionally, librarians seeking to enhance their multi-cultural collection and provide support for homeschooling families in teaching foreign languages will find best-in-class books through Gumdrop Books Global Solutions.

The AV2 World Languages series, which includes access to 50 titles in 6 languages (300 total) in e-book format, is exclusively available in hardcover format from Gumdrop Books Global Solutions. One-of-a-kind features make it a perfect fit for a broad range of classroom and library uses:

  • Toggle between six languages in the vibrant e-book with a simple click (English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, Russian)
  • High Interest, Animal and Science books within the series feature up to 96 sight words to foster fluency and comprehension
  • Hassle-free lifetime ownership of e-books (no subscriptions)
  • Compatibility across platforms – desktop, tablets, SMART boards, smart phones

“We’re honored to be able to promote inclusivity and support diversity while opening new pathways to learning in classrooms and libraries with the AV2 World Languages Series and the rest of our Global Solutions offerings,” said Bart Fitzgerald, CEO of Gumdrop Books. “We look forward to offering even more multi-cultural books and learning resources in the future.”

AV2 World Languages books can be purchased individually or as a series through the extensive network of Gumdrop Books sales professionals or on the Gumdrop Books online store. For more information on Gumdrop Books or to contact a Gumdrop Books sales representative, visit


School District Awarded Grant to Help Expand STEAM Program

By Catherine Stortz Ripley, Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune

BETHANY, Missouri – February 7, 2018

Plans are under way for developing a revolutionary process for collecting dust that is created by combines and reducing the threat of potential contaminants spreading to neighboring fields. In other agricultural-related developments, the idea of developing vertical farms to put less demand on acreage is starting to take shape. These developments are in the idea stage, but they are solutions that two Chillicothe fifth-grade students identified as a means to solve real world problems.

Tucked away in small space adjacent to the library at Central Elementary School is The Hive. This is the district’s first school-built destination Makerspace. Makerspace is more of a philosophy and less of “a thing,” according to Melissa Young, education technology specialist with the Chillicothe R-2 School District. “It is a place where kids can focus on solving real world problems and go through that engineering process, that design-thinking model,” she said. “It can take place in the classroom, in a spot like this, in the library.”

The philosophy is that it is not necessarily a space, but at Central School, it is a space. It is a destination. At this location, the students are furnished with many things that can help them with the engineering, design-thinking model. At the core of the Makerspace is STEAM – science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

The school district on Tuesday was presented a $3,555 grant from the Fitzgerald Family Trust of Bethany to expand the district’s Makerspace program. The funds will be used to help develop a Makerspace at the new elementary school and expand Makerspace ideas throughout the district. The grant was awarded on the whole STEAM environment and atmosphere filling up the Makerspace, Young said.

Inside The Hive, students explore robotics, sewing, crafting, writing, drawing, inventing, diagramming, and more. They spent the first semester learning about the engineering model. They learned the process for design and now they are focused on creating projects for a real-world audience. For example, Sadie Burtch, a fifth-grade student, is making a dust accumulator for a combine. “I am making it because there was a law made that you can’t get dust in other people’s fields,” she said.

Martiní Moore, another fifth-grade student, is building a video game. He already has ideas for next year, based on his art project’s assignment to create an invention. “Mine is a farm that actually goes upwards and has water pumps that go out and up,” he said. “Instead of taking up land, you can go up so there will be more space available.” Martiní decided that a real world problem is that farming takes up much land and that land is sparse. “He decided that he was going to build an invention where the farm moves up, instead of moves out,” Young said. “So, he has a water system that he wants to develop and all different kinds of things.”

Quilting, robotics, and forensics also are being explored by the students. “There are lots of different things happening at the same time,” said Young. The STEAM Club is an after school club that meets once a week primarily for students in grades four through six. Sophie Chambers and Andrea Beck are the STEAM Club sponsors. “Our goal in creating Makerspace areas and focusing on STEAM-type courses is that this is not an after school thing,” Young said. “We want it built into our everyday classes at school.”

Several of the STEAM Club members will be traveling to St. Louis next week to give a presentation about their projects at the Midwest Education Technology Community conference. Last fall, Young and club members shared their program during the Missouri School Board Association Conference at the Lake of the Ozarks. It was at this conference that a representative from the Fitzgerald Family Foundation saw the students’ presentation, was impressed with the program and suggested that Young apply for a foundation grant.

South Harrison Grant - Chair

“Our goal with this grant is to expand our STEAM initiative by creating places in other buildings where students can focus on the Design Thinking model and learn to solve real world problems by developing empathy with a client, research, prototyping and testing,” Young said. “STEAM Club students have this opportunity already, however, we would love to find a way to offer the same opportunity to all students in our district. Building Makerspace areas around our district is one way to start initiating this type of thinking.”

The Makerspace also teaches perseverance, Young said. “The first idea that they try to implement isn’t necessarily the best idea,” she noted. “It’s that out-of-the-box thinking that really helps them get to the prototype that works for that problem. We’re trying to teach kids how to think, develop a philosophy and solve real world problems.”

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Gumdrop Books™ $7,600 Provides Grant for High School Library

BETHANY, Missouri – September 14, 2017

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Gumdrop Books, an international book company, provided the South Harrison High School library with a $7,600 grant to update the furniture. The grant is part of the Fitzgerald Family Trust Fund which was established to provide grants and scholarships for kids' programs and libraries.

Items that were purchased include a 70” smart home theatre display TV, tables with chairs, a circulation desk, a coffee station, and two black chairs. The TV will replace the old projection screen and will allow teachers and students to run document cameras and other projects from their computers. They will also be able to broadcast individual screens and share with the whole class. The librarians at South Harrison wanted to entice students to come into the library more often by offering flexible seating and technology upgrades.

The four tables have barstool chairs that fold in and out. This provides the students the option of sitting or standing around the table, while also being able to plug in their devices at the charging station. The whiteboard surface of the tables allows students to write on them, making collaboration easier. The library plans on having pre-planned activities, like a Lego challenge, set up at these tables. Two black chairs were also purchased to give students another comfortable choice for seating.

"We are excited about our updated high school library. We have modernized the space to make it more inviting to our students. Our goal is to have them come in for a book, a charging station, a hands on activity, and a place for independent learning," stated Mrs. Heather Fitzgerald, Elementary School Librarian.

The new modern circulation desk has enough space for students to work with books, computers, or various other technology items.

The coffee station purchased through the grant is a unique addition to a library where students can purchase coffee and snacks. This money helps purchase additional books for the library.

(Pictured from left are Jennifer Eddis, Nick Fitzgerald, Zorayda Fitzgerald, Bart Fitzgerald, Gumdrop Books CEO, Heather Fitzgerald, Elementary School Librarian, Missy Blanton, High School Library Assistant, and Tanya Keck, Middle School Library Assistant)


Eugene Field Elementary School Wins $1,000 in Library Book Giveaway

BETHANY, Missouri – August 31, 2017

Library Book Giveaway Winner

Ree Sullivan, Media Specialist, with Eugene Field Elementary School in Maryville, Missouri got a pleasant surprise when their newly remodeled library was awarded $1,000. Gumdrop Books™, an international book distributor, continued their Grand Re-opening celebration of their online web store. Librarians were invited to see their revamped site and to enter in their 2nd library book giveaway through the Fitzgerald Family Trust.

"We were so excited and surprised to be Gumdrop Books' winner! We already have some amazing things in mind to spend our prize money on, such as robots for our Maker Space area, STEAM kits for exploration and innovation and of course--more books for our new library! Thank you, Gumdrop Books, for supporting our school and community." -Ree Sullivan, Media Specialist

Gumdrop Books held their 2nd Grand Re-opening giveaway from March 13, 2017 to June 30, 2017. Eligibility was open to any authorized purchaser for a school or library in the United States and US territories.

Librarians are invited to enter for another chance to win funds for their library. From September 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, Gumdrop Books will hold another $1,000 library book giveaway. The winner will be announced August 31, 2018. For more information, visit

(Pictured from left are Brian Lynn, Principal, Ree Sullivan, Media Specialist, Russell Johnson, Gumdrop Books Representative, and Kim Walker, Assistant Principal.)


Gumdrop Books™ Host Librarians from the Bahamas

BETHANY, Missouri – August 20, 2017

Previewing Titles Touring Warehouse

Gumdrop Books, an international book company, holds true to their long-time slogan of “Exceptional Service, Unconditionally Guaranteed”. Two librarians from the Bahamas recently experienced what that kind of service truly means. As guests of their sales representative, David Stone, the director of Bahamas Library Services, Mrs. Dorcas Bowler, and the librarian at Wulff Road Public Library in Nassau, Mrs. Marsha Major, visited the home office in Bethany, Missouri.

The librarians had a tour of the Gumdrop Books office, including their new Fitzgerald Books Showcase. Fiction and non-fiction titles were neatly organized in the Book Display. In their warehouse facility, they had easy access to any title they wanted to see. In addition, they saw employees packing and boxing books for shipments.

With having the special opportunity to preview selections in person, Mrs. Bowler and Mrs. Major were able to pick up many books and turn the pages to see and feel the high quality of the books. Their representative, David Stone, helped with any questions they had and made the buying process very easy for them to make their selections, even with choosing from over 80 vendors and thousands of titles. Purchasing books from Gumdrop Books was very convenient and fun for Mrs. Bowler and Mrs. Major. They know exactly what to expect when their shipment arrives.

Mrs. Bowler and Mrs. Major were treated to a wonderful homemade meal prepared by the employees at Gumdrop Books. The librarians really enjoyed the Midwest hospitality of this warm and friendly family-owned company and their personalized service.

“It was a most wonderful and exhilarating experience visiting Gumdrop Books in Bethany this summer. I will recommend this tour to all librarians at home and around the word.” - Mrs. Dorcas Bowler, Bahamas Library Services

From the Gumdrop Books warehouse, the librarians were treated to a tour in The Show Me State, to get a taste of Missouri. Mrs. Bowler and Mrs. Major chose to go to a small Amish community in Jamesport, where they could shop for many hand-crafted items and foods. Further south, they toured the historical Central Library in Kansas City. The librarians ended their Missouri tour by flying to Chicago, Illinois to attend the American Library Association Conference before returning to Nassau.


Gumdrop Books™ Donates $5,000 in Grand Re-opening Giveaway

Bethany, Missouri – February 15, 2017 (National Gumdrop Day)

Library Book Giveaway Winner

After revamping their online web store, Gumdrop Books held a Grand Re-opening inviting librarians to see the new site and to enter in a $5,000 library book giveaway.

Gumdrop Books and the Fitzgerald Family Trust are proud to announce the winner of their library book giveaway. Diana Williams, Media Specialist, and Stone Elementary School in Wiggins, Mississippi was awarded $5,000 to purchase additional books for their library.

(Pictured from left are Eddie & Karen Mann, Gumdrop Books Regional Sales Managers, Kirsta Sablich, Principal, “Penny” Owen, Superintendent, and Diana Williams, Media Specialist.)

The winner was selected randomly by Gumdrop Books. To enter the library giveaway, a customer must have registered for an account at the Gumdrop Books Web Store or placed an order with a sales representative. There was no purchase necessary to enter or win. Eligibility for the giveaway was open to any authorized purchaser for a school or library from July 1, 2016 to December 15, 2016 in the United States and territories and Canada.

Customers who registered on the new Gumdrop Books Web Store were able to see the new changes to the site. It is easier, quicker, and more customer friendly with improved navigation. Shopping is available 24/7 on multiple platforms.



SCLA Outstanding Librarian of the Year Award

Bethany, Missouri - October 19, 2016

Kay Wall wins SCLA Award

Congratulations to Heather McCue, winner of the 2016 South Carolina Library Association Outstanding Librarian of the Year Award. Heather is a Children's Room Librarian at Richland Library Main in Columbia, SC. Over the past ten years, she has truly taken the library world by storm. In 2015, she was awarded a Mover’s and Shaker’s Award from the American Library Association for her invaluable services to families and children in the Columbia community through financial literacy programs, as well the partnerships she has formed with the University of South Carolina’s Center for Research in Nutrition and Health Disparities. The partnership with USC is one of many creative community initiatives Heather has developed. Through this particular partnership, the library is provided interns throughout the school year that act assist patrons in need with various services such as registering for housing assistance, SNAP benefits, employment issues, etc.

Heather is the complete embodiment of what an outstanding librarian looks like: fun, creative, relatable, personable, talented, and all around just a wonderful person. The way she interacts with patrons, especially our younger ones, is truly magical to watch. Heather just has that ‘something’ when you are in her presence that makes you feel safe, cared for, and that you matter. The children (and really anyone) absolutely feel that when she is around and they gravitate towards her anytime she is near.

Winners of the Librarian of the Year award are selected based on their record of outstanding service and/or their significant contributions to libraries. The award was presented at this year’s South Carolina Library Association Conference and included a $2,500 grant for materials from the Fitzgerald’s, owners of Gumdrop Books, through their Fitzgerald Family Trust Fund.

Congratulations once again to Heather!



School Library Gets Makeover

Bethany, Missouri - August 24, 2016

Bethany School library gets makeover

Heather Fitzgerald’s desk is now lined with chalkboards to allow quotes and messages to be displayed.

The whole makeover is due to the gracious donations that were made by Gumdrop Books as well as the Fitzgerald Family Foundation.

With this funding, the school was able to purchase new seating areas for students, including fun beanbag chairs and new pod-style seating that no doubt will attract the children’s attention.

They also brought in new bookshelves to line the walls and added a fresh coat of paint. The room is topped off with new rugs that add a more modern feel to the room and invite children to sit and read together on the amusing buddy rugs.

One of the more unique pieces in the room would have to be the decoupage table that is covered in all kinds of children’s book covers and character pictures. It’s a fun addition to the already fantastic room.

Children’s desire to read will soar now that they have such an exciting place to let their imaginations wonder.



Gumdrop Books Helps Put More Than Books in Kids' Backpacks

Bethany, Missouri - December 11, 2015

BackPack Buddies Program - Donation

Gumdrop Books and the Fitzgerald Family Trust Fund are proud to announce their pledge of $30,000 to support the Backpack Buddies program, providing kids in Harrison County much needed weekend meals during the school year. When kids are hungry, learning is even harder. Programs like Backpack Buddies help fill the nutrition gap for hundreds of children who don’t get enough to eat at home, a problem in many rural areas, but particularly here in northern Missouri.

Sponsored by the Second Harvest Community Food Bank in St. Joseph and run by the Harrison County Food Pantry, Backpack Buddies has been around since 2008 and is completely run by volunteers. Last year, Backpack Buddies distributed weekly packets of food to about 125 students from five school districts in Harrison County, but this past school year, the program saw a growing need and now supports over 140 students.

It costs $150 per year to feed each child in the program. As more kids and families in need were added to the Backpack Buddies program, it soon became clear there was a very real chance available funds would run out well before the end of the school year. The food pantry organizers reached out to the community for help and that’s where the Fitzgerald Family Trust Fund came in.

BackPack Buddies Program - Food Pantry

Located in Bethany, Missouri, the trust fund, run by the Fitzgerald family, donates money to local programs that serve children, as well as school libraries and librarians around the country. Several Fitzgerald family members saw the article in the Republican-Clipper and brought up the idea of making a significant donation. “We created the Fitzgerald Family Trust Fund to make it easier to give back to our community and to the schools and libraries who are our customers.” said Bart Fitzgerald, CEO. “It feels really good to be able to help those who have helped us grow to be the company we are today.”

The donation will be distributed to the Harrison County Food Pantry in five installments, with the first installment of $10,000 to be given this year, and the remaining $20,000 portioned out over the next four years.

Students and families who participate in the program need to qualify, and they can also shop once a month at the food pantry to help stretch the family’s food dollars even further. If you’d like to help or learn more about the programs please contact the Harrison County Food Pantry. To call: 1-660-425-3833



SCLA Outstanding Librarian of the Year Award

Bethany, Missouri - December 9, 2015

Gumdrop Books 40th Anniversary

Congratulations to Diane Lohr, winner of the 2015 South Carolina Library Association Outstanding Librarian of the Year Award. Diane is the Collection Development Coordinator for Trident Technical College in Charleston. She has worked for TTC for more than 35 years and has been an active member of the SCLA, serving on statewide library consortia committees such as South Carolina’s virtual library committee (DISCUS), the Library Resource Information Sharing committee (LIBRIS) and PASCAL, the Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries committee.

Winners of the Librarian of the Year award are selected based on their record of outstanding service and/or their significant contributions to libraries. The award was presented at this year’s South Carolina Library Association Conference and included a $2,500 grant for materials from the Fitzgerald Family Trust Fund.

Congratulations once again to Diane!







July 15, 2015 Fitzgerald Family Trust Contributes to South Harrison Middle School

A $42,000 contribution by the Fitzgerald Family Trust was given to the new South Harrison Middle School project. The Fitzgerald family matched $42,000 in donations made by school patrons and alumni to the Buy-a-Brick program. The contributions will be used to purchase equipment for the new Middle School, which is under construction at the north end of the high school. Taking part in the ceremony were members of the Fitzgerald family and School Board members.



Gumdrop Books – 40 Years Dedicated to Getting Books into the Hands of Kids


Gumdrop Books 40th Anniversary

Bethany, Missouri – March 9, 2015

Gumdrop Books, an international distributor of educational books and materials, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Founded in 1975 by Harold and Gail Fitzgerald in Bethany Missouri, a small town in the heart of the Midwest, this third generation, family-owned company started out selling encyclopedias, cookbooks and reference materials to families door to door. Four decades later, Gumdrop Books distributes over 2.3 million educational books and materials a year, to schools and libraries, from their state-of-the-art distribution center, still located just off I-35 in Bethany.

Today, Harold and Gail are retired leaving their children and grandchildren to run the business, along with several other divisions. With customers in over 63 countries, the Gumdrop Books business model retains the essence of its origins, guided by the motto “Exceptional Service, Unconditionally Guaranteed”. Gumdrop Books Representatives still bring samples directly to their customers, offering them the same personalized service the company built its reputation on. And in this era of overseas call centers and phone tree recorded support, at Gumdrop Books a real person responds to each call, from their offices in Missouri.

Gumdrop Books, which began as Central Programs, Inc., found early on that flexibility and listening to their customers was a winning strategy. The focus was always on providing excellent value and service to their library customers. At the request of customers, they began offering popular fiction paperbacks rebound into library bound hardcover editions, a service they still offer today under the name Fitzgerald Books. Gumdrop Books also purchased Mitinet, Inc., a library services company offering collection database management and metadata enhancement, to expand the services their library customers need and have come to expect.

Loyalty, service, hard work and commitment are the kind of values that have served Gumdrop Books well over the years and are still evident in the way they do business. “We’re pretty proud of the fact that after 40 years, we have representatives and employees who are the kids of some of those original representatives and employees.” said Jeff Fitzgerald, Harold’s son and CEO of the company. “It’s great to see people who grew up with Gumdrop Books come and work for us today.” The Fitzgeralds’ commitment to service can be seen in the development of the Fitzgerald Foundation, a charity organization that has, over the years, donated thousands of dollars in books and materials to libraries and programs dedicated to improving the lives of children. From financial donations to school libraries damaged by tornados or flooding, to donating palettes of books to the Kansas City Reach Out and Read Program, the Fitzgerald Foundation serves as another avenue to help not only their library customers, but their ultimate customers - the kids, as well.

Gumdrop Books believes that books, education and libraries are still at the heart of our culture and the basis for our collective future. To that end, they have dedicated themselves to helping their customers create complete and meaningful library collections that help schools and libraries, teachers and students accomplish their educational goals. And the Fitzgeralds hope to continue that tradition for another forty years.


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