The Domestic Violence Library

November 11, 2009 3:12:18 PM PST
It's meant to be a safe place for families facing some of the most difficult times. It's a place in Brooklyn for families trying to overcome domestic violence. And it's predicated on books, the idea that books can help take your mind off of things, even if for only a short time. And that brief distraction can help in the long run.

It's was a book about a hero, and reading it helps Sammy and Edith Kassem bond and feel better.

"We feel very safe, and the staff makes us feel like there's, life doesn't have to stop in the situation we was going through," mother Edith Kassem said.

The situation was domestic violence. Now, between counseling and legal sessions at the Family Justice Center in Brooklyn, they can come to the Domestic Violence Library on the 15th floor.

"I see sadness, fear, desperation," director Charles Bednarsh said.

Bednarsh believes a little reading can go a long way to alleviate those feelings.

And the reading is contagious, which is exactly what Erin Jackman was hoping for. The library was made possible through the foundation named for her sister, Brooke, who was killed on 9/11. Brooke was an avid reader.

There are 1,000 books, and there's another library just like it on another floor, for children who are crime victims.

All kids receive a backpack filled with school supplies. The libraries are cheerful places to come in terrible times.

"It's important that the kids have a place to distract them from their problems," mother Gregoria Garcia said.

And while the books won't erase what's happened, they can help turn the page.

And with the Family Justice Center seeing 700 to 800 new clients per month, there are many families stopping in at the library. And many of the books are in other languages as well.

If you're interested in helping create other libraries like this one, check out

For resources on domestic violence, visit