The J-Man lovingly coined the monthly Friends of the Library Book Sale the “Book Fair” in remembrance of that special time in elementary school when the kids brought home those flimsy pamphlets filled with book titles to check off. I haven’t been to a Book Fair since Danny abruptly resigned from the FoL board last October. To the best of my knowledge, neither have Daughter C or The J-Man. It’s a loss for FoL. We routinely spent $40 or more each month. (See this for an idea of how many fewer books the FoL is selling since we quit going.)
The FoL occupies the bottom floor of the tri-level library. As one enters, there is a room on both sides of a large vestibule. One is the 50¢ room that’s always open. The freebie table is in the vestibule. It was in the large vestibule that Danny would push the freebie table into a corner and then set up tables which held the contents of tubs and tubs of old books. Literally hundreds of
crappy old books organized by subject, each with a printed label so you could find what you were interested in. If there were collections, the label would describe each volume’s contents along with other information Danny had discovered. He once told me he did a spot of research on every book.
Danny worked that vestibule like an old-fashioned salesman– greeting everyone, starting off with a joke or a big “How’ve you been?” He knew his regular customers’ tastes and would direct them to just what he thought they needed. Needed– not wanted. “Here. Here’s something just for you!” he’d say. I’ll never forget how shocked Daughter C and I were that first Monday in October when we walked down the stairs only to see no tables filled with
crappy old books just for us– and no Danny.
Not going to the Book Fair is no big deal really. The room that has the so-called good books seldom had anything I was interested in except perhaps for coffee table books I’d find for Christmas presents. But I still checked out the freebie table and the 50¢ room once a month or so. Lately, I’d noticed that there was some rearranging going on. And last Friday, the category “Old Books” was gone, as were the old books. And then I saw the sign in the donations corner. Texted the pic to Miss M who replied, “WOW.”
So that’s it for me.
At the time, Daughter C and I inquired from a long-time volunteer what had happened. She didn’t say too much other than Danny had quit the board in the middle of the meeting. Oh! And if I was interested, I could go into the back room where Danny had been establishing a fine collection of older textbooks for homeschoolers and take whatever I wanted.
Did I mention the board had just installed a new president? It’s clear Danny’s resignation marked the beginning of a refocused FoL. And the sign is mission complete.
So let’s look at that sign.
BOOKS WE DO NOT ACCEPT
Three levels of emphasis. All caps. Bold. Underline. Only warnings about things that spontaneously combust need that much emphasis so I guess the FoL really means business. But what the heck are they going to do about it if someone leaves a 16– not 15 but 16– year old book on the floor? What’s the punishment for this heinous crime? What’s to be done with the 16 year old book? Maybe take it to the range for target practice?
PUBLISHED BEFORE 2003
(unless a classic)
Apparently no book older than 15 years is worth anything. This is not true of course. I have one sitting right over there that’s worth well over $500 depending on the market. Another brand spanking new book I distinctly remember picking up from the freebie table, Tufte’s Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative (1997), is a best seller on Amazon for $38. At that same time, I picked up Information Graphics: A Comprehensive Illustrated Reference (Harris, 1996).
Recall, these were new books. This one was still in shrink wrap.
I remember feeling somewhat ashamed about these two freebies, so at the next Book Fair, I mentioned it to Danny. Could I please pay something for them? How do books come to be on the freebie table? No. And the people in charge of donations don’t know anything about books. FoL is a social club for them.
If this is the case, how will FoL identify the “classics?”
I’d call that a classic, wouldn’t you?
Wonder if they will update the sign 1/1/2018?
Since they’ve already drawn a line at 2003, I have some sympathy for this one, especially since Starkvegas is a college town. Textbooks are such a racket. Too bad for the homeschoolers, though.
I return, though, to drawing a line in a college town. Some of the best books I got from the Book Fair were from donations of professors’ libraries after retirement or death.
DAMAGED OR VERY DIRTY
This too sounds superficially reasonable although to my eye a bit tacky. Really? You have to spell this out in all caps? You don’t think your donors have a bit more self respect and pride in the quality of their donations?
Screw you, Reader’s Digest.
PAMPHLETS OR BROCHURES
Again, I understand the sentiment. Let’s face it, a lot of donations come from cleaning out Grandma’s house after she passes on. Those are too old anyway (meaning all of the great old pamphlet type cookbooks are already excluded). So the objection is as for dirty books.
Sigh. The odds of my winning this war are slim, but I battle on.
Every home should have at least one set of fairly contemporary encyclopedias. Ideally, every home should have three or four adults sets spaced out from the mid-1930s (or earlier if you can find one) to the recent one. They should be from different publishers. In addition, every home with children should have several sets of kids’ encyclopedias, including at least one set arranged topically.
“Go get an encyclopedia volume.”
There they go again with the triple threat. What exactly would a personal item be in the context of a list of things the Friends of the LIBRARY excludes from donations? So yeah. Some moron once dropped off a fine set of steam hair curlers. (Same moron as brung the dirty books, I expect.) And now personal items are excluded. Why bother with that? Why be that insulting?
Also– why are all lines of text aligned left except the exclusions. Heh. Clearly whoever typed up that sign has not perused the classic, Visual Explanations.
[See also Awful. Just Awful]