Every Librarian's Secret Fantasy (Er, Not That Kind of Fantasy)

We did a day trip across the border to Williston, North Dakota on Wednesday (it's a long story as to why we had to go mid-week, I'll tell you over a beer sometime) and the highlight for me was finding an old department store that had been converted into a place that sold all kinds of antiques, collectibles and souvenirs on the main floor.  As for the basement…well, the sign said “books downstairs” so I was expecting a few old copies of Readers Digest Condensed Books, maybe a bunch of shelves stuffed full of tattered Harlequins.

Instead?  The entire massive basement was crammed with books of all shapes, sizes and ages.  Although it was lacking in newer books, the selection of strange and obscure older titles more than made up for it.  Plus (and this is huge), there was not a single employee in the basement at all so I had the equivalent of the entire basement of a typical city department store (think of the Bay or Eaton's that every city in Canada has downtown for an idea of the size) all to myself!  (I'm honestly surprised I'm not still there.)

This is a photo from the stairs leading to the basement.  It's a bit dark and doesn't really do the place justice but hopefully gives you a small sense of what I'm talking about.

They sold their books by the pound on a sliding scale – up to 5 lbs was $0.99/lb.  6-10 lbs was $0.89/lb.  11-15 (which is what I walked out with – hey, no different than carrying Pace, I figured) was $0.79/lb.  In their language/books/writing section, I found a number of old LIS textbooks which are all pretty cool to page through. 

Here's a sampling of the titles I bought…
“Intro to Cataloguing and Classification 5th Ed.” – Wynar (1976)
“Planning College & University Library Buildings” – pamphlet (1981)
“So You Want To Be A Librarian” – Wallace (1963)
“Guide To The Use of Books and Libraries 3rd Ed.” – Gates (1974)
“Supervisory and Middle Managers in Libraries” – Bailey (1981)
“Library Work With Children” – Broderick (1977)
“Educating the Library User” –  Lubans (1974)
“Building Library Collections” – Duncan-Carter (1969)

Total damage for all of these plus a bunch of other books on everything from parenting to philosophy to non-fiction classics such as Studs Terkel's “Working”?  $12 and change. 

Oh, and the teasing title for this post about every librarian's fantasy?  Just a little theory I came up with at FIMS and which was fleshed out by many of my colleagues I tried it out on, namely that, just as every English major is a closet writer, all librarians secretly want to own and run a used bookstore. 

%d bloggers like this: