In the early 1990’s a Newcomer was looking at the AA Literature Catalog and saw the Big Book being sold in foreign languages.
“Wow”, he thought, “we should get those for our Central Office!” Into Salt Lake Central Office he marched and stated to Arlene (our Central Office Saint/Manger). Let’s buy all the languages and stock them in our Central Office.
Arlene sighed and responded that “they might not sell and they would have to be carried on the Central Office inventory”.
Within two or three years the same man returned to ask the same question again. The answer remained the same: “they might not sell and they would have to be carried on the Central Office inventory”.
Each few years this persistent/stubborn Alcoholic would return and try again.
In 2007 headed down to ask Ron, the Central Office Manager at the time, the same question. While driving, the Alcoholic thought, ”they will never buy these books and this is a waste of time.” But then the thought came, “Why don’t I buy the books and donate them to Central Office for display?” It wouldn’t cost them a dime and would never need to be counted on the inventory.
Off he drove to see if Ron would go along with a donation. Through some dialog, Ron agreed; the only stipulation being that Central Office required is that if the Central Office sells one of the foreign books, they must replace it.
The Alcoholic started buying the books a few at a time. One day driving to Central Office he thought, “You selfish SOB, Why don’t you let AA join in?”
Thus began the project of buying Big Books around the world. A “Carry the Message” can was created and AA members stepped forward to offer pennies, dollars and much, much more. The list of names of the languages were put on the wall of a local club and members stepped forward to donate or buy a book that had some sentimental touch to their hearts. The books were ordered and a couple of six shelf book cases were offered to display the books. As the books came in they were added to the collection.
Now, the stubborn Alcoholic wanted more. “Let’s build a display and put it on the wall,” he suggested. This was not supported at that time, but luckily the new Central Office management in 2012 was receptive to the idea. Again, the Carry the Message can came out and AA’s were asked to support the display idea. Members stepped up and raised over $600 that first month.
Now you know the history of the “Small World Big Book” display! If you have not been to Central Office please go and look.