The Pass-it-on Library
The following excellent suggestion comes from a reader of this page and might well be followed by others who find themselves encumbered with books.
`We are living in a temporary quarters in a strange city,“ writes this correspondent for whom hearty thanks are due, “and we are anxious not to accumulate impediments, as several moves of all our effects have made us realize the necessity of reducing our belongings to their lowest terms. One of the constant problems which has confronted us is, what shall we do with superfluous books?
“We are fond of reading, and books seem to gather about us in an astonishing fashion. We have limited ourselves to two small bookcases, and have agreed to keep in them only such books as may bear re-reading. This we find is a severe test and few of the books which we buy for ourselves or which are given to us come up to this standard, so they must be disposed of. So many of the books of today are charming ephemera. They give great pleasure at a first reading but their shares consists in some unusual situation or surprise, and beyond this they have little title to consideration.
To give them away is not always a kindness, for it is putting upon some friend the obligation of housing the book and the friend too may be hampered for space, and grudge the book room and still be possessed of a conscience which prevents her giving a gift-book.
The idea of a pass-it-on library occurred to me, and I put it into operation this Christmas. I do not claim it as original. The longer I live the more I find that all my original ideas were someone else’s original idea long before I thought of them. Still on the chance that no one else has thought of it. I pass on the idea.
I took twenty books and wrote inside the cover of each “the pass-it-on library”. Conditions of membership. When you are through with this book write your name and the date on it, and pass it on to a friend.
You will see that this puts the responsibilities or restrictions on the receiver. He or she may keep the book indefinitely or forever, if desired. On the other hand if the book is familiar, or if on skimming the first few pages it makes no appeal, it may be sent on its travels at once.
It is the encouragement of friends which has led me to give this little outline of the plan to your paper. AC.
[Note from Gilliandr- sorry, there are never too many books in a library, and just two shelves? Not in this house!]