On the way to school this morning, the boys and I passed an intriguing stack of cardboard boxes in front of our local library branch. The top one was filled with nothing more than crappy outdated travel guides, but I made a mental note to dig deeper on my way back home. After depositing the kids at school and returning to the tower of boxes, my dumpster-diving was interrupted (and assisted ;)) by another school mom. The first few boxes contained little more than outdated text books and old child development material. The bottom box, however, was a gold mine.
Seriously. What is the world coming to when a library is throwing away books? What I found and brought home from that bottom box would have cost me much more than $100 to buy at the local thrift store! Everything I selected was hardcover and the vast majority published between 1900 - 1950. Two of the publications were "presentation" books with leather covers and gold embossing.
A sampling of the plunder:
- "Under the Greenwood Tree" - Thomas Hardy
- "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" - Thomas Hardy
- "Shirley" - Charlotte Bronte
- "The Vicar of Wakefield" - Oliver Goldsmith
- "The Works of Robert Burns" (leather binding, 1930 presentation book)
- "Wordsworth's Poetical Works" (leather binding, 1930 presentation book)
- "Middlemarch" v. I and v.II - George Eliot
- "The Pilgrim's Progress" - John Bunyan
- "Hard Times" - Charles Dickens
- "Gulliver's Travels" - Johnathan Swift
- "Sartor Resartus" - Thomas Carlyle
And it goes on..
It appears to be part of a donation from a particular family, as the presentation volumes and many of the other volumes contain the same family name. While I understand and accept that the library must have many copies of each of these already, it galls me to think that they were considered "garbage" for recycling and not donated to one of the local charity shops selling used books. These items could have been used to generate cash for the community!
It certainly makes me think twice about donating books to the Public Library here in Ottawa. It will also make me think twice about just passing by any full-looking boxes in front of the library. :) I have a fondness for old books and these will replace several paperback copies currently owned of classic English literature studied in university. I am particularly happy about the Thomas Hardy items. These books will be well-loved and much-appreciated in my home, despite being turned away from the library and left to ferment on a city sidewalk on a damp morning in May.
(Three of these I already have copies of, but I couldn't just leave them there. If anyone would like them, let me know -- otherwise I'll pass them along to St. Vincent de Paul's. The books in question are: "Sartor Resartus" - Thomas Carlyle; "Gulliver's Travels" - Johnathan Swift; and "The Pilgrim's Progress" - John Bunyan.)