The Unquiet Librarian
By Virginia Roberts
Rhinelander District Library Director
So, Halloween is just here, and I want to talk about the holidays. Well, not exactly. I want to talk about the Not Quite the Holidays Book Sale on November 13 and 14 in the basement meeting room of the library between noon and 5:30 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
It features recently discarded craft and cookbooks, donated gently used bestsellers and young adult books, music CDs, puzzles, and older and rare materials. In the case of the craft and cookbooks, many can be used to make Christmas gifts or to give as gifts themselves.
Now, many have asked why, oh why would we discard books from the library collection? The really rough term is weeding. Books are not weeds, why on earth would we possibly call it that? The short answer is there is not enough room on the library shelves for everything. The long answer is sometimes books wear out their welcome–get outdated due to the information contained therein or their stories aren’t “classic” and checked out anymore. A happier answer and one you’ll see less often at a book sale is materials are so well loved they get broken—seen or heard (in the case of a video or music) or read to death. Honestly, if you see an ex-library DVD, I wouldn’t purchase it—chances are it has skipping issues at the very least.
Rather than discarding or weeding, I look at the whole exercise as an opportunity to hone the collection and feature those hidden gems, new and old, no one knew were on the shelves.
There are also a good number of donations of all types, sets of books, bestsellers, classics, art, music—even ephemera. And many of these items make it onto the shelves. Those that don’t find a place on the library shelves to be loaned to the entire community wait around for the book sale, and hopefully, a new home.
The book sale is another way to ensure stuff is shared by the community—a recycling or even upcycling event—and to raise a tiny bit of money for the library. Because during the book sale, something remarkable happens; the material gets new life—by hopefully selling it to someone who will love and treasure it, gift it, read it, watch it, listen to it, and share it as much as library patrons or the original owner did over the time they had it.
So come to the Not Quite the Holidays Book Sale. Find something to make—or the gift of story or song for a friend, a child, or even yourself, and have yourself a little merry and bright in the dark of the year.