John Igo’s donation of more than 250 medical books sparks a new Health and Wellness Resource Center in his name.
By Ryan A. Flournoy
Two San Antonio libraries now recognize the name of John Igo, a retired English professor at this college.
The first was the John Igo Branch Library, opened in the city’s northwest region by the San Antonio Public Library in 2007 for his lifelong contributions to the library system, according to mysapl.org.
The latest is a medical library called the John Igo Health and Wellness Resource Center, for nurses and staff at Brookdale Hamilton Wolfe Senior Living Solutions.
Igo, 88, who lives at Brookdale, received the honor Sept. 23 during a ceremony at the senior living community.
More than 30 people attended, including residents and staff members, along with a few past colleagues of Igo.
Since moving there in 2010, Igo has been collecting medical books to help nursing students and staff aid patients and their health issues.
He has obtained roughly 250 books, all on medical subjects such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, amnesia and cognitive deterioration.
Igo said he bought the books from a section in a New York catalog titled “Your Health.” He spent an average of $3.95 for books that originally cost up to $100 and no more than $19.95 for books that cost up to $200.
Igo’s donated books to Brookdale are the first of their kind at the facility.
“These books are not for reading, they are for consulting,” Igo said during an interview before the ceremony.
With a lifelong passion for continued education, Igo encourages students and staff to use the books to improve care of current and future residents.
“Better medics, better nursing, better doctors, better health,” said Igo, who retired from this college in December 1999 after 47 years of teaching.
An Emmy Award winner, Igo is an educator, writer, producer, artist, photographer and critic.
Since his retirement in 1999, Igo has published 12 books of poetry and prose, he said.
Born in San Antonio, Igo has devoted most of his life to expanding the minds of students through reading and writing.
Igo is a graduate of Trinity University, earning a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English, while simultaneously working part time at the San Antonio Public Library to help pay for his living expenses.
After graduation, still fascinated with reading and academia, Igo opted to stay on campus, where he inquired about a job in the university library.
However, at that time he lacked the qualifications for librarian, so he was hired to work in acquisitions.
There, he learned how to acquire scholastic books to help Trinity students with their studies.
He credits his duties of ordering, processing invoices and assigning the books to the right department as the origin of his keen abilities to determine which books are most suitable for readers.
Igo continues to practice these skills today for the nurses and staff at Brookdale.
He also remains engaged in writing and is currently working on two stories, one a folkloric story and the other a brief history on the auditorium at Locke Hill Elementary, both to be published late next month.
“There is no spare time,” Igo said of retirement. “At 88, every moment has to be used.”