Saturday, August 28, 2010

When There's No More Room on the Bookshelf

I buy books, I use the public library, and friends and I pass around books. Before I know it my bookshelves are full. When I prepared to move I didn't want to pay to move all those books and I had no idea what to do with the several hundred hard back and paperback books we had accumulated over the years. A friend told me that a tiny town of about one thousand residents was trying to start a library. The city had little funds for extras so citizens were starting a grass roots campaign to start one with no money. Someone had donated a building and many others donated books. I gave them a call. The woman in charge came out with a pickup and went nuts over the books. Together we loaded the pickup with a few hundred hardbacks in mint condition from the sixties to the 2002. There were biographies, autobiographies, non-fiction, and fiction of all types. She couldn't believe the shape they were in and I explained that only two people, maybe three, read them before they went on the shelves.
After I moved I decided I wouldn't collect that many again. Well, seven years later, I was looking at over a hundred. I went through them yesterday and kept my "How to write" books, several MG and YA's that I'm saving for my great-nieces and nephews, reference books, a few signed first editions from my favorite contemporary authors, and a few favorites, including paperbacks, I'll read again. That left about fifty. I called a neighbor asking for ideas. She mentioned several nursing homes that had libraries and she told me that one of the animal shelters loved getting books for their thrift store. This was the same shelter where my sister adopted her first rescue. So I bagged up the hard backs and took them out there. They helped me unpack the car. Being hardback and recent best sellers they can even offer them to shops who deal in used books. I was happy to not only find a home for them and help the animals, but now my shelves are waiting for brand new occupants.
I realized driving away that real-hold in the hand and turn the page-books are still wanted. Yes, there are e-books and it is a wave of the future and I'm one of the supporters of those, but I'm happy to think it is going to be a long time until a book in the hand will be considered old fashioned and outdated.  There's got to be a place for both kinds in our future society. At least I hope so. What are your thoughts or hopes on the future of books?

15 comments:

  1. Wow, you're much stricter with yourself than I am! When I went to clean out my bookshelves, I could only part with about twenty books that I gave to a local library. And guess what my family is getting me for my birthday this year? A new bookcase. :-) But I think that's fantastic that you're able to give those books away, knowing they'll help others so much.

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  2. I dread to see paper books totally gone and only e-books remain. I am holding on to a bunch for my kids to enjoy down the road. :O)

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  3. What great places to give your books to. I also like to donate to The Lisa Libraries—they give books to headstart programs, etc. You made me laugh, though, that the new empty shelf space means more books! :D I'm the same way *giggles*

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  4. Anna, I think giving you an extra bookcase is great. We kept books while I was growing up and later as an adult, but when it came time to move and I had so many, I changed my mine about how many I needed to keep.

    Diane, I think it is great holding onto books for the kids, that's why I held onto the ones I did because they might no longer be in print when the kids are old enough to read them.

    Andrea, yep, "giggle" back, I've already decided which ones I need to pick up at the store this week!

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  5. I have a hard time getting rid of mine, and it sounds like they're a lot more worn out than yours. Way to go, finding places where they'd make a difference!

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  6. Hi Cathy,
    I got a Sony reader for Mother Day one year. It was so sweet, but I kept thinking 'Do these people even know me?' I love books. I have to keep that Sony around for three years(I believe that's the rule), and after that, it off to the thrift store. On the other hand, I adore electronic photo albums. Those are good thing.

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  7. I posted a photo of my dog on my blog page - those boxes behind them are full of books. I keep going through them. Mostly adult murder mysteries. I have sold many at a book store that gives me cash - the local library here does not need my mystery books. I on the other hand need the cash. I also have four boxes of children's books. I donated some to our local library and need to go through my books a little closer. E-books and I are a no go. I have to feel books in my hand. I have a couple of bookshelves in my house, but I only keep books in my "scope of collections." Writing books, MG books, adult mysteries, women's history, architecture ad infinitum. LOL I LOVE BOOKS...

    I want bookshelves on two walls in my living room. I want to see my books, I am greedy about books.

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  8. Myrna, it was hard getting rid of them that's why I waited so long.

    Shellie, I think it's sweet they decided to modernize you.

    Liz, we have a store here that will pay, but I checked them out once and it didn't pay for the gas getting there. They charge half the price of the retail but only offered less than 1%. Hopefully the shelter will get more.

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  9. That's awesome. I don't keep a lot of books from here and now. What I have a hard time getting rid of are the ones from childhood. The Black Stallion series. Nancy Drew...etc. For some reason, they're hard to part with.

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  10. Ah, I just cleaned up my bookshelf recently. It's hard for me to part with books. I hope that they never go out of fashion (well, at least for me they won't!)

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  11. I think books will be around for a while. I hope they never go out because I looooove paper and books. One of my most favorite things in the whole wide world is browsing a used bookstore.

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  12. I can't give up mine either, its just too hard. My shelves are overflowing. I need at least two more books shelves!

    I need to hold a book when I read it, so I hope they never go out of style.

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  13. I wanted to let you know that I love your blog so much that I'm awarding you the Versatile Blogger and One Lovely Blog award! Come by to "claim" them. :)

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  14. Thank you! This is such a nice surprise!

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  15. Wonderful ideas. I need to clean off my shelves, too, and I know exactly what I'll do but it's still hard to say good bye to my hardbound and paperback friends. You inspired me, however, and so I will give them away to my teacher friends who come to the meetings of our local council of the International Reading Association.

    Bless you, Kind Lady! :)

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