Family Hold Back | Newberry

Family Hold Back

So, of course you know July 3 was your last day to donate books. You have, accordingly, marked on your calendar the date September 4 as the first day you are allowed to bring in books again, and you would not think of bringing so much as a paperback Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya….

Pardon me. I was laughing so hysterically I had to wipe the tears from my keyboard.

We have had enough frantic calls that I know what’s really going to happen. Relax. As much as we would like to take a break, we will not be posting a guard with a submachine gun on the stairs to watch for book donors. Our order for barbed wire has been delayed in shipping. The missile for book donations will still be down by the parking lot doors where it has been all year. Mind you, if you put a book into it, the razor-sharp teeth of the killer rooster will…oh, I wasn’t supposed to tell you about that.

We do not actually wish to turn away your books. What we were hoping was that you would take our plea seriously, and wait until after the Book Fair to make any more donations, out of thoughtfulness.

See, we HAVE books, perhaps as many as 150,000 of ‘em, more books than we’ve ever had before. We also have a grand and glorious new first floor (or we will when this week is done and the dust clears) into which we need to fit a whole new arrangement of tables, bookcases, AND those maybe 150,000 books.

We need to do this in such a way that you can actually see the books to buy them, and so that we can restock the shelves and tables as quickly as we can after you buy things. Some fancy concentration will be necessary as we try to put all the pieces of the puzzle together without any box lid for reference: we’re not positive what it will all look like when it’s done. And, insofar as it is possible, we’d like to do that without having to break off to help you unload eighteen boxes of treasure from your car. Nothing against the treasure: it’s just that we have a lot to do.

“But Uncle Blogsy!” I hear you cry, “That’s in July! Why can’t we bring you presents in August?”

In August, we need to start over from scratch, for the second year in a row. Like this time last year, our whole processing system must pack up and move to a different floor. The space we decorated from the Fall of 1985 to the Summer of 2017 is no more. We have a spiffy new spot in the cellar and no real idea how we’re going to make that one work. We will, of course, but we’re going to need all of August to move the bookcases and tables in there and set up our new factory. Don’t worry about us: there will be no lack of things to sort into the new spaces. What did you think we were going to do with all those books which have been coming in in July?

Some of the things which have come in lately will probably make it into the fuss this July. You have brought us ANOTHER seventeenth century book about a seventeenth century divine, roughly one and a half missiles of magazines about trains, and a work of Chicago history which is so obscene that if I put it out at all, it will be in Collectibles so we can have someone standing by to make faces at anyone who looks at it. (This is what I miss about not being in my old location: you don’t have the chance to get to know the people dropping off books.)

So though we hate to see the flow of battered boxes, garbage bags, and carry-out bags from cafes in Kenosha, we really need a little time off so we can concentrate on making the 2018 Book Fair happen, and then guaranteeing that the 2019 Book Fair gets off on the right foot. So if you could resist temptation, we’ll be even happier with your donations after Labor Day. (There is an exception to every rule, of course. If you happen to have the sequel to that bit of Chicago history I mentioned…well, it’s always nice to sell a complete set.)

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