Library Donation Kicks off International Program

Written by Deb Houdek Rule for The Heinlein Society



A donation of books on behalf of The Heinlein Society to the public library in Pine City, Minnesota began an international effort to make widely available the works of American literary figure Robert A. Heinlein. The donation of six novels to the east-central Minnesota town was made by Heinlein Society member and Minnesota native, Deb Houdek Rule, who also serves as Chair of Web Properties for the Society. This initial library donation was followed immediately by a comparable donation to the public library in Bentleyville, Pennsylvania, and a large donation of Heinlein books to a university in China. More donations will be made throughout the upcoming year to libraries in the upper-Midwest and throughout world.

The Heinlein Society was founded in 1997 by Virginia Heinlein, widow of Robert, to encourage and promote his literary vision. The Heinlein Society exists to preserve the legacy renowned author Robert Anson Heinlein left us in novels, essays, speeches and short stories. The mission of The Heinlein Society is to “Pay it forward,” since we can never pay back the benefits we got from him, by spreading Heinlein’s wisdom and forward-looking vision of a bright, promising, inclusive future for all of humankind.

As well as the rapidly expanding library donation program, The Heinlein Society has organized and sponsored numerous blood drives in the US, Canada, and Europe bringing in hundreds of pints of badly needed blood. There is also an Scholastic/Academic program encouraging literary scholarship and research on the works of this important American author. Educational tools have been created and are being made available to schools for teaching Heinlein’s juvenile works in the classroom.

Author Robert A. Heinlein was born in Missouri in 1907, attended the Naval Academy at Annapolis, before being discharged from the Navy with a medical disability. He began his writing career in 1939, steadily producing works until his death in 1988. His speculative fiction writing defined the Golden Age of science fiction, leading the genre from the fringes of society to the mainstream of literary respectability. Heinlein created a vision of the future that inspired generations of scientists and space professionals, many of whom credit their entry into NASA and other space programs to Heinlein’s influence. His contributions were recognized by NASA in 1988 with a Distinguished Public Service Medal. He also won four Hugos and three Retro-Hugos.

Heinlein’s widow, Virginia, managed his literary estate which was the largest in US history. After her death in January 2003, The Heinlein Prize Trust took over management of the Heinleins’ literary estate, creating, at Virginia Heinlein’s instructions, a cash prize in the amount of half a million dollars to be awarded to the individual or private organization that makes a significant contribution to the advancement of human presence in space.