I once spent 7 hours
Having done this a few years ago, makes me yearn to do it again. But this is a once in a lifetime moment, there are no seconds.
The story begins with a young couple purchasing a three story building right off our square downtown. The building was vacant for a long time and the little cafe restaurant on the first floor, facing the towns square was closed. Left behind in the building was a treasure trove of books. Many ruined from years of neglect; rain from a leaky roof, others torn and crushed from other falling books, mold and mildew galore. There were school books, workbooks, children's primers, coloring books, college course books, novels, vintage books and so much more in subjects of math, literature, poetry, music, history and crafts. All this, 10's of thousands of books left in the third floor apartment. You can't imagine the scope of it. What was this collector thinking? What was its purpose? What was the goal? The owners were faced with moving an entire local library of books from a third floor apartment with twelve foot ceilings to where?!
Probably mortified at first and then motivated to move these books, offering them to the public. What could it hurt? The public would carry them down the stairs and out as there was no elevator and the owners would maybe make a little redecorating money. They began filling boxes with books that were good enough to offer, black bagging those beyond repair. Can you imagine what got thrown away?
For those attending this "weekend" event couldn't have realized what was in store for them. The sheer numbers of books, 10's of thousands, I'm not making this up, I will try to describe. Walking into that apartment to be met with nothing more than rows of boxes stacked three and four deep sometimes five around the perimeter, down make shift aisles, in the hallway, on the stairs, boxes everywhere!
All one could do in that moment was stop and stare at it. Going through my mind was "where in the world do I start". I glanced at someone going through a box, picking up books, putting them down or into other boxes, with a quick glance and grin up at me as if to say "start anywhere you want but stay away from here!" Mind you there was no order, no catalog, no system of separating subjects. Your on your own!
The owner of this establishment smiled and offers up an empty box.
Well, I think you can get the picture of the next 7 hours. If you are a diehard book lover, you woke up in book heaven. Others literally RAN out of the room appalled at the chaos around them, we just laughed.
There was a little bit of comraderie even with those of us settling in calling out things like "If you find a yarn book, airplane book, chemistry book,........let me know?"
I did find craft books and even a few very old books just to enjoy such as; "Lyrics of the Hearthside" by Paul Laurence Dunbar dated 1899, "Standard Arithmetic" by William J. Milne dated 1911, "Wagons Away!" by Phillips and Wilson dated 1941, "History of the United States" by Mrs. Helen W. Pierson dated 1889. Others around me found other nuggets just as wonderful to have and enjoy! Books are books are books, I love them all.