One more read

Saving books through “Little Libraries”

For the past several years Julia and I, when visiting our son and family in Texas, have been taking books with us to read on the way and while we were in Texas. Rather than bringing the books we had finished back to Virginia with us, we placed them in a Little Library within sight of our son’s house.  One year we decided to take additional books to just to put in the Library. Recently we discovered there are little libraries in Harrisonburg, too.

Booksavers (Gift & Thrift on Mt. Clinton Pike*), where I volunteer, keeps many books from an early trip to the landfill.  Our donors bring their books (as well as CDs and DVDs) to our store for resale.  Booksavers recycles for paper, books that are not saleable (due to minor blemishes, etc.) or have not sold after time on the shelves.  But some of us at Booksavers have wanted to give these books “One More Read”.

Harrisonburg “little libraries”

People of Harrisonburg are giving books one more read by putting them in “little libraries” –free libraries, usually along the street. Some belong to the “Little Free Libraries” organization**.  Some of the “little libraries” are not a part of the Little Free Library organization:

Collicello south of 3rd

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Collicello near 3rd
Collicello just north of 5th. (Beneventos)
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Cornerstone Lane off Rt. 11 north near/at Cornerstone School

East Market just east of Mason at Strite Donuts—called “Free Library” (John Shafer, Steward) ++

East Wolfe between Myrtle and Sterling (Mary Lou Wylie) https://www.whsv.com/home/headlines/Little-Free-Libraries-Encourage-Kids-to-Read-During-Summer-Months-262338191.html

Eastern Mennonite University near the corner of Parkwood and Park.  Stocked by Hartzler Library.

Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 660 South Main Street, near MLK, Jr. Way.

Friendly City Food Coop, Mason and Wolfe –bookshelves near the cash registers and windows‡

Immanuel Mennonite Church, 400 Kelly Street – near Hill Street.

Madison Street-between Jefferson and Monroe–stocked with the help of Vine & Fig Tree—a very colorful Library ‡

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Mountain View Elementary School, Rawley Pike, Rockingham County

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Myrtle and Kelly – Stocked by Gus Bus people

Our Community Place – (boxes inside occasionally) outside–proposed

Pale Fire Brewery off Bruce Street between Chesapeake and Liberty – inside

Ridgeway Mennonite Church, 546 E Franklin St

Sentara RMH Wellness Center, 2500 Wellness Drive, HNBG

 

South Dogwood just south of Neyland Avenue ++

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West Market (33 West) near North Dogwood

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Lincolnshire Drive – North end (this one is actually in Rockingham County)

Other locations stocked by Booksavers people:

Children’s Clothes Closet

Refugee Resettlement

Roberta Webb Preschool, Kelly Ave. (for school participants only)

Salvation Army, 895 Jefferson Street (available on distribution days)

Sentara Hospital:  One near the Main entrance and one near Emergency entrance

Waterman School, 451 Chicago Avenue (for students only)

[If you know of others, please let me know at dave528va@gmail.com.]

Free book offer

These people and organizations are to be commended for their work setting up the little libraries and in giving books “one more read”.  Booksavers can supplement what the owner/stewards of the existing little libraries are putting in their libraries.  The books available may have blemishes, may be out of date (at least, some people think so), or just don’t sell in the store.  (Books that are not claimed, Booksavers sells to paper recycling.) To see what Booksavers might have to give your “little library”, make an appointment with Booksavers’ Manager, Amy Rohrer at (booksaversmanager@gmail.com ).  Currently, Booksavers’ employee Sue stocks an unofficial “little library” at Waterman School and several others.  Gary helps stock the one on East Wolfe.  David has been delivering books to Our Community Place, Salvation Army, Vine & Fig Tree and others. Julia has sent books to Refugee Resettlement and Children’s Clothes Closet.  None of these are official library stewards, just book and people lovers. We have distributed more than fifty boxes of books since the One More Read program started in October of 2018.

Booksavers has many books worthy of “one more read”.  We will make these available to library owners or stewards (stewards of the Little Free Libraries they maintain are required by Little Free Library Org.). Volunteers are ready to deliver books to the Little Library stewards.  Additional volunteers are welcome.  For more information text David Alleman at 540-705-1437, or email at dave528va@gmail.com

More little libraries needed

Observers (nationally) of the Little Library movement have noted that most of these libraries are located in more affluent neighborhoods.  This appears to be the case in Harrisonburg as well.  We would like to locate Little Libraries in neighborhoods not currently served.   Harrisonburg does have a few little libraries in less affluent areas.  Madison Street, Myrtle and Kelly, Myrtle and Hill, and Ridgeway Mennonite on Franklin.  Possible sites are near Our Community Place, Lucy Sims School, and the Salvation Army on Ashby Avenue. Stewards/caretakers are needed for these locations.

What more is needed?  The Little Library organization asks $40 registration fee to make the library an official Little Free Library. This fee pays for instructions, publicity and signs.   Additional funds are needed for the materials for the library box, the post and the cement.  The cost would be under $75.  Finally, people are needed to install the little libraries.

Ridgeway Mennonite Church, 546 E Franklin St, Harrisonburg is the latest to install a Little Library. They opened in early September.  Our Community Place has made a commitment to install a Little Free Library.  It should be the next Little Free Library in Harrisonburg.

*

https://www.facebook.com/booksaversofvirginia/

http://giftandthrift.org/

**For more on the Little Library organization, see their website:

https://littlefreelibrary.org/   https://littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap/

 

‡libraries currently stocked by Booksavers staff or volunteers.

Saving books

Old books

“Do you have any old books?  I need a gift for my fiancee.”  That was one of the stranger requests that we’ve received at Booksavers of Virginia.  The customer told us his fiancee just liked old books and  he wasn’t sure if she liked more than the look of them.  That solved a problem for us.  I was working on a Luther Bible in German script without a title page, probably from the eighteenth century.  I had not been able to identify any distinguishing features of the Bible to permit us to list the Bible on Amazon.  The book was about three inches thick, by six wide by nine long.  The leather cover was well-preserved with five raised bands on the spine.  There was only limited foxing (brown spots) on the pages.  When the groom-to-be saw the Bible on the shelf in its warm brown leather binding with only “attractive” wear, he was sure that his fiancee would be happy with the gift.  (I don’t remember the price, but it was more than $50).

Our work

Booksavers of Virginia is part of Gift & Thrift of Virginia.  We are part of the Mennonite Central Committee network of stores that raise funds for famine and disaster relief and for development work, mostly overseas.  Most of the books, DVDs, and CDs posted to Amazon fall in the seven to fifteen dollar range.  Many have UPCs and ISBNs and are easily identified.  My work is with the items that do not have these numbers and often requires a good bit of research.  All of the items mentioned above are donated.  Those not posted on Amazon may be displayed for sale in the retail store.  Books and magazines not sold are sold to paper recyclers.

Another old book I worked on was a late nineteenth, early twentieth century Bible with local newspaper clippings of births and deaths. It had no title page and was destined for recycling.  The manager said, “Let’s put it on the [in store] silent auction.  Maybe someone will want it for the local information.”  Result:  $90.  In the electronic age I am amazed that we still receive books for which I cannot find electronic records.  Recently I process an autobiography of a pilot who had lived just down the road (north) the road in Basye, Va.  He had piloted private planes for famous personalities in film, sports and politics.  None of the standard book sources or variations of Google searches turned up a record of the book.

Other languages

Due to several retirement villages in the area, plus three higher education institutions and numerous immigrants, we receive donations of many non-English language items.  I’ve discovered you can find Dale Carnegie’s How to win friends and influence people in Farsi, that there is a language called Catalan (formerly thought a Spanish dialect) and that a 1986 book in Russian published in Azerbaijan is barely understandable by a young (Russian speaking) Ukrainian.  When a cookbook in a southeast Asian language (I thought) arrived, none of us could find anything in the book to determine its origins.  So, I took it to a Laotian restaurant to ask for help.  When the cook looked at it, she said, “Oh, yes, this is Laotian country cooking”.  (I remembered seeing French words in a menu in an upscale Laotian restaurant, so I guessed I knew what she meant.)  Then she said, “How much do you want for the book?”  I admitted I had no idea of its value.  I told her the book was to be sold for disaster and famine relief, including funding for refugee camps in Southeast Asia.  We agreed on $10 or $15, I believe.   Five years or so later, she bought another Laotian cookbook.

Valuable books

Bunyan’s Holy War in German script?  Photos from a famous nightclub in New York in the late thirties?  A compendium on the fur trade in North America?  All these and more have come through Booksavers and valued at $500 or more.  The photo album sold for $1200.  A devotional book from the eighteenth century may have been worth more.  It contained an 1742 Luther Bible, a shorter catechism, an early devotional work and a special Psalter.  These were specially bound together in leather with an intact metal clasp.  We were unable to get full value for the volume because of the difficulty of describing the different parts.  Value is not always measured in dollars.  The manager fielded a call from Texas about a cookbook.  The caller asked about particular pages and recipes.  Then they ordered the book, saying their copy of the cookbook was lost in a flood and they valued the recipes it contained.