Cynthia found a great sign on the Internet describing, in great detail, the policy of some unidentified used book seller about books that he left outside his shop. I'm proud of being part of a tradition, among many booksellers including Hugh Gilmore who owned Gilmore's books at the top of the hill, of trying to make our excess book stock available to the public instead of throwing it away. Books are meant to be read, and reread, and read again and there is something deep in the genetic code of many humans that shudders at the thought of throwing books away. It's some sort of offense against the great gift of our intellect and how that has been expressed over the centuries with written language.
We have a simple sign that says that the 20-30 shelves outside our "back door" are free and we'd appreciate the help of users in keeping the area clean. We're a little more terse than our fellow bookseller. We benefit from this human urge to somehow preserve books in that many people donate books to us. So many look to us as a home for their beloved books that we have to limit the period when we accept books. To give you some idea, we received over 300 BOXES of books during May, the last time we accepted books. Try to imagine the size of that book mountain and I think you'll understand why we aren't accepting books again until August and then every three months hence. (We remind people of where we are in our book donation cycle in the header over the calendar on our website.) A few of those free books have gone into recycling, many of them are still waiting patiently in my van, or basement, or on our porch, to be evaluated as to whether we could use them in the shop, but a large chunk of them have gone into our free book area. I hope you'll feel free to come and take books from that pile - no need to feel sheepish. Some people take books and sell them for very little on the internet. One of our friends, David Kim, takes boxes of books in English, particularly more academic titles, and rents part of a container bound for Korea where they will be added to the academic library of his alma mater, a university in Seoul. Some people have used the books for art projects. And hundreds of people have taken one book at a time and read it, and perhaps returned it, or passed it on. Some books go to the prisoners in our jails through Books Behind Bars. Having the free books may lessen our sales somewhat, but I think its a small loss compared to the loss we'd all suffer if those books were just thrown away. I wonder what the corporate world would be like if all companies thought of the common good as a real part of their business practice.
Speaking of the common good, we have a couple of events coming up this weekend that I recommend to you. On Friday night, June 29, we are delighted to welcome back the band, Prose from Dover, for a free concert from 7-9 p.m. It looks like it will be a warm but mostly dry evening so I urge you to come out and hear Dave and his wife Barley perform some of the songs from their huge repertoire. They have played children's music, songs from the Great American Songbook, current pop music, the Beatles, etc. Get out of your hot houses and enjoy the cooling of the evening. It's Final-ly Friday and we're one of many spots in Mt. Airy to enjoy the fun. You could even go from us to a free movie showing over at Lovett Library. Go to GoMtAiry.com for full details.
Then on Saturday morning, we have the Mt Airy Train Station White Elephant Sale. We have a good sign-up of sellers who have cleaned out the white elephants in their basement, garage, or attic and will march them down to the station to let you check them out and, hopefully, take one home for yourself. With any luck, some of those elephants may come with a trunk full of water to cool us all down. I hear that there may be grilled hot dogs and hamburgers for sale so you can come with an appetite. Sharon Abbott, our yard sale troubadour, plans to join in the fun and play some music. The sale officially goes from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. but many vendors are set up earlier and or stay later. Whether or not you find anything to buy, come on down to the free pile and take a book home to read in your wading pool. Hope the elephant leaves you some room, and water!
Greg and Cynthia