Rare Book Monthly

Articles - August - 2011 Issue

Why doesn't this happen in my town?

Uh-oh

Too generous by half

The explanation given is that the library already has 5 million books and “enough already.” 

For book collectors, this is exciting news as it leaves the other 99.995% to be tested against the 3 copy and inclusion/exclusion rules.  For years, I’ve been wondering where many of the early and essentially unobtainable books are.  Now I have part of the answer.  Some are sitting in a library half way around the world, and they, the material that is, are preparing to make their escape with other old and irrelevant books, maps, and ephemera this coming year under the banner – free to a good home.  Long locked up, like the Count of Monte Cristo, they hope to make a daring escape.

Your job, if you choose to accept this assignment, in the coming year is to make a mitzvah.  Make the trip to Jerusalem next July.  Use your knowledge to identify valuable books and return them to the library as a donation along with an explanation of why they are important.  As a gift, they will see such books in a new light and keep them for another generation at which time your children will find them on the book fair shelves again and must gift them anew.  It is of course, a losing battle.  Libraries are going digital, and nothing will stop it because succeeding generations increasingly see books as content rather than objects.  Along the way, in the transition, they will do a multitude of silly things.

Mr. Weinberg, speaking on behalf of the library and apparently to settle the controversy said, “out of 25,000 books distributed to the public, they had received less than 40 responses about questionable books.  Of course this is not surprising.  Who gets a good deal and complains?

From all this I have only two questions; when is the next fair and what is the address?

Related Stories

Jerusalem Post – Book early!  National Library to give away 24,000 volumes

http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=226375

Jerusalem Post Nat’l Library accused of giving away books

http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=230493

Rare Book Monthly

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