Book Lovers Unite! | Arts & Culture

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Book Lovers Unite!
Book Lovers Unite!

I might have missed out on the last gasp of summer weather, but my geeky self had a ball on Saturday as I helped sort and organize The Glacier, the fond term for the more than 20,000 donated books stored over the course of each year for the Annual Friends of the South Portland Public Library Used Book Sale.

I'm a dyed-in-the-wool book lover, and a sucker for used books.  Maybe it's my Yankee frugality, or my tree-hugging spirit of reduce-reuse-recycle, but I just can't bring myself to spend $25 on a retail book, when I know if I wait a couple of years I can scoop up the same book for two bucks at a sale that benefits a good cause.  How do I wait it out?  By browsing through the hundreds of books (maybe a thousand?) awaiting me at home (I know, there's probably a diagnosis here, but it's not Hoarders or anything.  Really, it's not).  My dear husband insists we could insulate our house with our books, and I think top of his list of "Why I Never Want to Move to a New House" is the spectre of hauling all my beloved books (and probably risking a severe back injury in the process).  Was I sad when Borders went belly up?  Of course, but mostly because it was the demise of the last retail location in Greater Portland where you could hang around well past 9pm, coffee in hand, and browse through.... books!  Nirvana!

This ugly duckling found her swans on Saturday.  Not just one, but a whole room of busy, book-loving people just like me.  Whee!

And I met Dave Kirkwood, the Angel of The Glacier.  Several times a week, ALL through the year, Dave sorts the books donated at the South Portland Library into categories (he has quite a system), which he then carefully boxes up and adds to The Glacier, a veritable pyramid of boxes the size of a small warehouse.  It's astonishing.  Dave quietly devotes this care and time, and then is the cheerful commandant of Sorting Day, hauling trolley after trolley of boxed books, patiently directly volunteers as we ask him, for the umpteenth time, "Um, Dave, what do you want me to work on next?"  He's amazing.

At the end of the day, I managed to hold down my purchases to a mere two full cardboard boxes of books.  Dave loaded the boxes onto a dolly and wheeled them out to my car (awww).  As we chatted on the way, I said I looked forward to seeing him next weekend for Cleanup Day.  He replied, "Oh, well, I won't be there this year for Cleanup.  I feel bad about it, but after a lot of thought, I've decided to go to my 60th high school reunion."  60 years!  Dave, you rock.

The book sale starts tonight and lasts til Saturday.  You can come in tonight if you are a "Friend" of the South Portland Library (a small donation, and well worth it, IMHO.)  Enjoy!

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