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» Ship of Fools   » Community discussion   » Heaven   » Getting rid of books - how not to do it.

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Source: (consider it) Thread: Getting rid of books - how not to do it.
Penny S
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# 14768

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Two nights ago, out for a very late, or early, depending on your perspective, walk, my guest came across a pile of books at the back of the local Oxfam shop. Uncovered, when rain was forecast. As a consequence, I joined him on a rescue mission, and we filled the boot of my Skoda, and the back seat, and the footwells at the back with almost the entire lot. Only almost, because he had already liberated some theology books via a supermarket trolley.What this will look like on the CCTV I shudder to think.
I have now got them into the shop, where they were greeted with gratitude - apparently people regularly leave books outside, and they then have to be dumped because of rain. The Oxfam manager used to run our local bookshop, so that must hurt.
My guest thinks the haul belonged to a clergyman. I don't. There weren't enough deep theology titles, mostly popular ones, and other stuff - The Truth of the bible code; a book exposing the scam of climate change; astrology books (quite serious ones, ephemerides and such, and the influence of the planet Pluto; cookery books - glossy, unused; gardening books, ditto; Readers Digest travel books and atlas, ditto; Chinese language lessons; shorthand books; occult stuff, including a rabbi dealing with reincarnation of Holocaust victims (very dubious); lots on correct English, with thesauri, Brewer and so on. Two books on D H Lawrence, but none of his work. The poems of Andrew Marvell. In many, the owners' name had been inscribed in elegant calligraphic italics, with the date of acquisition, and his signature had not altered through several decades.
A curious collection.
And someone couldn't care enough to cover it or take it in during the day. And this seems to be common.
I am rather hoping no-one else does it in the near future. Throwing clothes over my pyjamas to rescue further deposits isn't how I see the rest of my life!

[ 23. August 2017, 19:12: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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Brenda Clough
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Valiant of you!

My father had a friend who had a wealthy relative, and this relative left the friend half his library. The people settling the estate put no thought into it. They just said, All the books on the left side of the room go to this heir, and the rest go to that. So my father's friend got perhaps a hundred cases of very miscellaneous books -- half the collected works of Trollope, for instance, because the other half of the set was on the other bookcase.
He selected a few to keep, and then over golf told my father that he was thinking of dropping the rest into a dumpster. My father, bless him, said, "Oh, you should give them to Brenda. She'll always take books." And I did. It took two trips with a station wagon, and the suspension was never the same.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Bishops Finger
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Sounds as if the entire 'collection' actually belongs to the current 'Presidential Library' of the US of A.....

[Paranoid]

But no, books shouldn't just be dumped like that. I suspect someone clearing the home of a recently-deceased eccentric had run out of space in the bin.

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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Penny S
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I suspect the current presidential library has matching leather spines with gilding, and nothing but leather spines with gilding. And slide back to reveal bottles of Trump whisky, made in China. NOne of these books was about marketing, and none by Trump, so defintely not him.
(If you think you might be interested, I can tell you which Oxfam branch.)

[ 23. August 2017, 19:42: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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Lamb Chopped
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It sounds to me like someone (bookseller?) had already been through the lot and picked out the good stuff (or at least salable stuff) and what you found was the dregs.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
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Schroedinger's cat

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I suspect BF is right - a house clearance. It is an appaling way to treat books (even trash books).

I need to lie down after readong about that.

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Blog
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take out this broken heart and renew my mind.

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Penny S
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I don't think they'd been sorted - the Oxfam manager, once a bookseller, thought a good many were saleable. Pristine, some of them. I've seen worse, both in type and condition in the nearest big second hand place.

And I don't think a dealer would have left the 4 old style £10 notes floating among the books.

[ 24. August 2017, 15:35: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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georgiaboy
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A number of years ago a widowed neighbor was planning a cross-counry move. Her late husband had been a compulsive book and record collector, including many sets. (Interpreters' Bible, History of Civilization, etc)
She had planned to move everything, until she got the mover's estimate! So she offered me anything I wanted, books and records. Many of the books had never been read; some had never been unwrapped!
Well, that was like offering cocaine to an addict.
EXCEPT -- she decided to keep the first volume of every set 'for sentimental reasons' Thus destroying the collector's value for every one of them.
(I still got lots of good stuff, including some priceless LP opera recordings.)

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You can't retire from a calling.

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Barnabas Aus
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My wife and I had an elderly friend who worked as a precision toolmaker at one of our state's last shipyards. He was an inveterate collector, and his small Sydney house was crammed with books.

He died suddenly, and he being estranged from his family, we had the responsibility of clearing the house. We loaded my father-in-law's one-ton capacity flatbed utility with fruit crates full of books stacked six-high and then more in our two sedans. It was lucky that the Highway Patrol was looking for other game, as the ute was way overloaded.

The books came to our house. We stacked them in a shed and gradually chose the ones which suited our interests. Then we rang the local university, as much of the collection was technical literature. They brought a van, and took a significant load for assessment for their library, with the remainder to go into their biennial secondhand book and record sale.

Benefits all round!

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wild haggis
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Our family are bibliofiles and moving recently to a smaller house caused us problems. What do we keep and what do we ditch or find good homes for? I hate parting with good books. But needs must. I'm still buying new books - ops!

I worked in a charity shop and we were often given piles of books that were unsaleable: reference books badly out of date, dirty books, pornographic, or so old the pages were yellowed and falling out and the spine disintegrating. Some of them even looked as if they had been used as toilet paper. Some scribbled on some covered in cigarette burns or cup stains. No one would buy or read them. Why do people send these to a charity shop? They are just fit for recycling. We got much needed money for the charity, by sending them off to recycle. But it was often a horrid job sorting through them.

Another of of my jobs was checking the books that had been on the shelves for a month or more. Charity shops are not a lending library or dumping ground for unsaleable books that no one wants.

Books are to be read and if no one reads them or they are not of academic/reference use to anyone, then they need to go out to be recycled.

The question is do we have books unused on the shelves and worship them because they are books or do we actually use and read them?

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wild haggis

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Penny S
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The day after the heap, we came across another example of how not to get rid of books. Driving to the station, the car straddled one in the road. Naturally, we stopped and my friend rescued it. In very good condition - you wouldn't have know where it had been rescued from - it was a hardback biography of Archduke Ferdinand, he who was assassinated at Sarajevo. We looked round. No-one in sight seemed to be in the least interested.

Back home I produced a flyer with an image of the cover, asking anyone who had lost it to call me on my mobile, and put up four of them around the place we found it.

A week later, I had a late night call from a couple of giggling females, who did not sound at all the sort to have a book on that subject, who asked if I had their book, and said I could keep it.

We are not convinced they were the owners, and the flyers are still up. After a decent interval, the book will go to Oxfam, to join the others.

Meanwhile, I am entertaining the concept of a novel in which the loss or finding of a book on that subject leads on to a huge disaster, in the manner of that Sarajevo murder. But I can't take it any further!

[ 31. August 2017, 10:45: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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I presume that everyone has seen this? At least it was a proper steam-roller, not one of those new-fangled diesel ones!
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Huia
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The local Sallies put their unsaleable books in free boxes outside the windows. Occasionally I take one. If I enjoy the book I go in later and pay a small donation, if I don't - well, that's one less book they have to pay dump fees for.

It's a win all around.

Huia

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Charity gives food from the table, Justice gives a place at the table.

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Baker
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Has the Little Free Library project gotten a hold in the Uk?

There are at least half a dozen within a mile of so of my house, and more elsewhere. I don't know how many are in my city, but they are popular.

https://www.thebalance.com/little-free-library-plans-1357149

This link is about LFL's. How to build them too. Could be a way to circulate a few books.

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Ad astra per aspera

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Pigwidgeon

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I used to take my used books (since my bookshelves don't expand, room must be made somehow) to a used bookstore to sell. I'd haul in a box full of formerly treasured volumes -- they'd paw through them, take a handful of books, and offer me a couple of dollars in credit in their store. It was too much effort for too little gain and, frankly, was humiliating.

I now take my no-long-loved books to my local library, which holds book sales several times a year to raise money. They even have a drive-by box, much like a mail box, where I can drop them off. No more humiliation and they go to a good cause.

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Don't keep calm. Go change the world.

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cliffdweller
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We're about the downsize housing and will need to rehome 100s of books. Some will go to the local used theological bookstore (a treasure!) some to charity or the local "little lending library" but most won't have any such hope.

I'm toying with trying my hand at some book art to give them a 2nd life. Especially the mass-produced dreck that I'm not particularly feeling the need to preserve for posterity.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Gamaliel
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There's a redundant Methodist chapel a few streets from us that is used as a second-hand book 'emporium' to raise funds for a Primitive Methodist museum in a village a few miles away.

So most of my old books go there. I only get rid of them when I am unable to enter my study due to the sheer volume of tomes tumbling off the shelves and breeding all over the floor. I have boxes and boxes of the darn things, both new and second-hand, that I haven't even got round to looking at yet ...

Trouble is, whenever I take some to the second-hand book emporium I come home with more than I've deposited ...

I also have to get my wife to drag me past second-hand book shops in old market-towns or the second-hand book stalls you now find at most National Trust properties. I also have a poet friend who is very generous and who keeps giving me copies of books he already has .... he buys them, gets them home and realises he already has a copy ...

One day they will find me buried under a pile of books and shelves like Leonard Bast.

The coroner will say, 'His growing collection of new and second-hand books proved his undoing. He died beneath their accumulated weight ...'

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Lothlorien
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Now there is a plot for Midsomer Murders. If they can have speaker fall on someone and someone else killed by a large round of cheese, then books would work too.

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Og, King of Bashan

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# 9562

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quote:
Originally posted by Baker:
Has the Little Free Library project gotten a hold in the Uk?

There are at least half a dozen within a mile of so of my house, and more elsewhere. I don't know how many are in my city, but they are popular.

https://www.thebalance.com/little-free-library-plans-1357149

This link is about LFL's. How to build them too. Could be a way to circulate a few books.

Be careful, though, as people drop off books as well. And not everyone follows the "only leave books that someone might actually want" rule. I've seen 15 year old travel guides and bound volumes of "The Watchtower" dumped in those things many times.

My book disposal problems ended when I re-discovered the local library. It's fairly easy to order anything I want to read for delivery to my local branch, at 0 cost and with no "will I ever read this again?" soul searching at the end of the book.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Gee D
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"Books do furnish a room" - Dance etc by Anthony Powell

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Huia
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quote:
Originally posted by Lothlorien:
Now there is a plot for Midsomer Murders. If they can have speaker fall on someone and someone else killed by a large round of cheese, then books would work too.

After an earthquake I donated a lot of books to a second-hand bookshop after picking them up off the floor where they were blocking an exit, and others where they were blocking the door to a room (the bookcase took out the TV in a triumph of culture over crass commercialism). [Biased]

Huia

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Charity gives food from the table, Justice gives a place at the table.

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Jengie jon

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There was a Puritan divine/Nonconformist minister who died when a bookcase in his library fell on him. If I have a chance I will check if my father still remembers any more detail.

Jengie

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"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by Huia:
...the bookcase took out the TV in a triumph of culture over crass commercialism. [Biased]

Huia

[Overused]

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Don't keep calm. Go change the world.

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simontoad
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Penny S. you are a bobby dazzler. You well deserve the title "Ship's Librarian".

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Human

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ArachnidinElmet
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quote:
Originally posted by Lothlorien:
Now there is a plot for Midsomer Murders. If they can have speaker fall on someone and someone else killed by a large round of cheese, then books would work too.

I think the writers agree with you. Didn't Edward Fox already end up under a bookcase?

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Stercus Tauri
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My mother's demise resulted in a massive book problem, to be solved, I hope, by Oxfam in Aberdeen. The will take the lot, sort, sell and discard for pulping as appropriate. It was a heroic offer, as many of the books are old, rare and of absolutely no interest to almost anyone. There are a few gems, and that will make it worthwhile for Oxfam. But plague take my brother in law for nicking the only one that I wanted.

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Sarasa
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I volunteer in an Oxfam bookshop (well it keeps my librarian's skills going) and we do check for any donations that might be valuable and either sell them on line or via auction. We also have a few lockable display cabinets and manage to sell quite a lot of the valuable books that way too. A rare book makes a great present.
Luckily not too many people dump books outside, but quite a few donations have spent too long in cold garages or attics and are a bit damp.

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Piglet
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quote:
Originally posted by Baker:
Has the Little Free Library project gotten a hold in the Uk?

Don't know about the UK, but someone's set one up beside the letter-boxes at the top of our road, and I think it's a lovely idea.

[tangent]
They've also put a wheelie-bin for recycled paper, which is a godsend when you open your letter-box and find it's full of fliers that you don't want.

[/tangent OFF]

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I may not be on an island any more, but I'm still an islander.
alto n a soprano who can read music

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Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
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I believe the guy who died from being brained by his books was Jansenius but I can find no account of the method of his demise in my brief online searchings.

Jengie

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"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

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Margaret

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The same thing is supposed to have happened to the French composer Alkan (though whoever wrote the entry in Wikipedia calls it "a persistent but unfounded legend").
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venbede
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Leonard Bast in Howard's End dies in a shower of books, symbolic of his attempts to "better" himself through literature.

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
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Golden Key
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BookCrossing might be worth checking out. tl;dr: They show you how to free your books into the wild. If you like, you can even keep track of them. I haven't tried it yet.

While I was tracking that down, I found WikiHow's "The 4 Best Ways To Get Rid Of Old Books". Actually, it's four sections, broken down into many parts.

Have fun! [Smile]

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--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
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wild haggis
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# 15555

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Lots of great ideas of what not to and what to do with books. Here are some more:

When I was clearing out my office a couple of years ago, all 23 of my books of the theology of children, were too good to go to a charity shop. So, when visited, I spoke to the librarian at Westminster College, Cambridge uni. She was very pleased to accept them and add them to the library's stock.I was amazed they didn't have copies of many of the seminal and basic texts already. Someone will be able to use them hopefully, in study and improve how we, in the church, view children and their spiritual development.

When I die - it's in my will(!!!!) - all my dance history books from 1900 to 1950s will go to the resource centre at one of the nation's advanced dance training facilities. They have a good Resource Centre that students there and at the nearby uni, who study dance from an academic as well as practical discipline, can use.

Hopefully my son or whoever is left, will find a good home, maybe his own, for all my poetry books. And many there are!

Usually novels, unless I particularly want to keep them, go to charity shops or friends. I knew one cafe that had a great bookshelf and you could add or take away books. Now that would be brilliant for cafes to take on.

In our church we are starting a box for magazines that people have finished with and others might want to read. I already pass several onto others and they do the rounds.

If books are suitable and in good condition sometimes school libraries can take them. When I was a school librarian, I had a couple of parents who, when their children finished the latest Harry Potter or "Diary of a Whimpy Kid", used to bring therm into school for me. It was brilliant because it meant I could use my budget for other more expensive books and still the kids could get into reading by seeing and reading the latest talked about book. Then perhaps catch the reading bug.

Any other ideas?

I always have too many books - well not too many fr me, but for my wee house.

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wild haggis

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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We have a take-a-book library in front of our house. Recycled cabinet from Habitat for Humanity for $15 I put a back on to and a set of doors for another $7, my wife painted and put some decals on it, with a bird made from porcelain on top. I bought a pressure treated 12' 2x4 which I cut into 3 for a post and made a support for it with some of the 2x4 also. It holds quite a bit on 2 shelves.

We filled it about 2/3 ourselves, and others have put more in. When there are too many, I take a couple or 5 with me and leave them around. Any waiting room, hotel, etc, anywhere with a waiting room is a good place to leave them. I write in them "take me with you, read me, and leave somewhere for someone else". I expect it annoys some people to have someone else's books, but in a world of annoying things, not sure this is a big one.

An idea so far my wife has resisted is my idea for pictures. We have so many pieces of art. My thought is to have one person with a hammer and a nail, and the other with a picture, and randomly put them up in public buildings, banks etc.

Probably leaving books in public waiting rooms and random art attacks are not how to do it. [Biased]

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

Posts: 11082 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
Pigwidgeon

Ship's Owl
# 10192

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Quite a few years ago, I worked at a place with very few readers. After we'd done a major book clear-out at home, I took a box full (mostly paperback fiction and other light reading) and left it in the break room at work with a sign encouraging people to help themselves. I was delighted to see my co-workers reading books, taking books home with them, etc. I may have started a wonderful habit for some of them.

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Don't keep calm. Go change the world.

Posts: 9459 | From: Hogwarts | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged


 
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