<VV> Books

Tony Underwood tonyu at roava.net
Mon Oct 17 16:34:11 EDT 2005

At 12:49 hours 10/10/2005, Hubert A Smith wrote:

>         It is my opinion at this late stage in my life that the best deal
>is to steal the books you like from the library.  They usually prorate
>them by their age.  I came to that conclusion because a couple of times I
>have gone back to check a book out again only to find that they have
>disposed of it as they rotate in new ones.  This has happened to me twice
>on books relating to Corvairs.  I get screwed out of using it again and
>it usually ends up in a used book shop where it eventually gets sold for
>scrap.  I won't have a problem with my conscience doing that next time at
>all.                      CIC

On occasion you can actually buy a library book "legally" by claiming 
it was lost whereupon the library will charge a stipend replacement 
fee for the book.   You pay it and get a receipt for [ your favorite 
book title here] and stick it on your shelf.

Not exactly a fine example for a morality play but if the book is 
something that's not been checked out for decades and obviously would 
end up in a dump (that's what happens around here since for some 
reason they won't accept paper for recycling downtown unless it's 
"non-inked"), it's something to consider.

Some years back, I approached my old high school (which was in the 
process of being closed down, eventually to be restored and 
recommissioned as a community civic and arts center) and visited the 
school library which had been moved out of the school itself and into 
a separate building which used to be the girl's gym, behind the high 
school.   Like other schools in town, my old high school library had 
gone to the "corporate" library card system, meaning that the 
standard library card for the public libraries also works for school 
libraries and thus the library was open to the public and not just 
students.   Odd that the school library remained open while the 
school itself had closed.

Now, being interested in the history of my home-town city, and 
knowing that the city's premier city historian and career newspaper 
journalist had previously written a very detailed and generally 
fascinating book, "A History Of The City Of Roanoke" which all city 
and county (and many others) school and public libraries had 
preordered copies, I fully expected to find a copy of this fine book 
in my old HS library.    I'd checked it out/read it at the main 
branch of the public library but wanted a copy of my own as 
reference; out of print and not easily obtainable meant that my 
chances of turning up a new copy was slim.

I perused the shelves.   Found a copy as expected, noted that:

It hadn't been checked out for years.
It had formerly belonged to another high school library.

The other school also been closed down about a decade earlier and its 
library liquidated/redistributed.   No word on what had become of the 
original copy that my high school had preordered from the 
publisher...  perhaps it had been "purloined" the way I was planning 
with this copy...?

I approached the librarian and asked what was going to become of the 
books in the library there since the school was officially shut down 
and the school library was likely to follow sooner or later.     He 
said that many would be redistributed to other city school libraries 
unless they were redundant duplicates whereupon they would be 
"disposed of".   The rest would be recycled or taken to the city 

I told him of my mission to turn up a copy of this book, rationalized 
that since other schools had copies of the history book in question, 
this one was a redundant item and could well end up in the landfill, 
would he have any issues with it if I were to walk back to the shelf, 
pick up the book and leave after placing a 20 dollar bill in its spot 
on the shelf...  providing he would turn his back and thus not see 
anybody actually taking the book.

He cracked a slight smile and said "I have some books to reshelve in 
the back, so good luck with your quest and have a good day."   He 
then disappeared into the back.

I went to the shelf, got the book, put a 20 in its place, and 
left.    It's still on my bookshelf and is a highly valued tome.   I 
also have the recently published highly detailed separate index for 
the book that was published by the city's local historical society, 
makes finding things in this very large book considerably easier than 
flipping through the pages via the books somewhat inadequate 
(considering the huge amount of info) original index.

Not long after this "exchange" took place, the high school library 
was deemed redundant itself and was shut down and most of the books 
(only a few were redistributed to other school libraries) went to the 
city landfill.   I felt OK with the "exchange" since it's likely that 
this 1000 page chunk of local history would likely have become worm 
food if I'd not "purchased" it... and I consider it a rescue rather 
than something "less legal".

If a local library had any books about Corvairs and they were likely 
to be dumped soon, I'd not have a problem with rescuing them as well 
via a similar proposition.   I just have an issue about anyone 
destroying a book for whatever reason...  whether it's simply 
obsolete, or subversive, or worn, or redundant or just 
ignored.    I've bought books that I still haven't gotten around to 
reading yet, some several years older than their purchase date but 
they will get read.

I  did note that my copy of Naders book UAAS came from a book store 
and had been marked down a number of times before finally selling for 
50 cents to a buddy of mine who bought it just to give to me, since 
it was on a cart out front marked "Liquidation Specials!".    I was 

I'd not want even his book to end up destroyed.


PS:  my old high school (dates back to the 1920s) has been restored 
inside and out and is now a community arts and cultural center and is 
absolutely beautiful.   You really should see the auditorium in my 
old high school... magnificent, it would blow your mind today and it 
wasn't half bad at all even when it was just a high school 
auditorium.   Nobody was any more glad to see the old school regain 
its glory and just due than I 
was.       http://www.jeffcenter.org/history.htm    And yes, I once 
rode to and from school in a Corvair, '64 Monza convertible, palomar 
red w/black interior, 110/4-sp. that belonged to a fellow band 
member.     I always remembered that Corvair and it contributed to my 
taking up interest in the marque again in the late '70s when I bought 
what was the first of what would become a fair number of Corvairs.

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