Small town library gives books to the community

I don’t know how many libraries exist in small towns. I imagine there are many, and I would suspect most of them are funded by the town, city, or state where the facility is located—as well as by donor funds from numerous sources, corporate or private funds.
But I’m not talking about those libraries. I wonder how many small, local, grassroots libraries exist that receive no funding, operate only with volunteer help, take all book donations, organize and catalog books, and provide access for an entire community? Do you know?

I don’t.

What I do know is that in my own small town, we are soon to be one library shy. Our small-town library is closing.

The library currently is housed in the former elementary school, which was sold to the town several years ago for a very nominal fee. For that low price, they took on all the issues of the property as well as the perks of owning a nearly 100-year-old building. The town provided space in the building for a library as a community service. Shelves and books and desks were donated. Everything you see there today, was donated. The library occupies what used to be the first and second-grade classrooms—at least those were the classes in those rooms when I attended school there. And, those room are full of books—books that now, are to be distributed within the community.

So, I did my part and took home about three armloads full of books this afternoon. And while doing so, I couldn’t help but think about the missed opportunities. First, the missed opportunity to utilize the space for some sort of good, possibly even to generate income, and secondly, why had the town not taken steps to maintain and improve the building as a community center early on, instead of letting the building decay to the point of no return? Why, could the village not see the potential, instead of the deficit.

I’m not sure and I’m not here to judge. Perhaps all angles were considered and maybe, selling the building is the right thing to do.

But what to do with all the books?

The ladies volunteering there today shared that many people had already moved boxes of books out of the building, but also that the librarians still had boxes to unbox and shelf. Over the years, the library had been the benefactor of many estate libraries and donations from people who simply could not store any more books.

Downsizing the home library was a thing for a while. I’m not sure I share that mentality—which is why you will find books and bookshelves in nearly every room in my house.

Mind you, I do not access books willynilly. I’m careful when I choose and what I bring home. And every book selected today was chosen for a reason. Mostly. Um, even if that reason was, “I want this!” Choice in book selection is very important!

Here’s my stash. I took home some favorite fiction authors and classics, including Phyllis Whitney, Daphne du Maurier, Victoria Holt (I cut my reading teeth on these ladies), and F. Scott Fitzgerald. I also picked up a few new authors and several young adult books that piqued my interest.

I found a couple of cookbooks.

These “household” books might come in handy for research one day.

Some very interesting garden books caught my attention.

A number of random non-fiction titles intrigued me.

I can see many of these books contributing content or ideas to future posts here, so stay tuned!

All in all, a well-spent hour on a Saturday afternoon. Now, it will only take me another four hours to find places for them all to live on my bookshelves…. (but no worries, I will find the space!)

While I am sad about the library—and the building—I feel good that the ladies working there are seeking new owners for the books. As one of them remarked, the only stipulation for taking books is that you love books! If the books can be spread throughout the community, and into the homes, isn’t that a good thing too?

Of course, it is. Research about children's academic achievement tells us that children with a hundred or more books in their homes do better in school. That is a fact. I plan to do my part, too, to spread the word.