Celebrate the Beauty of Books

If you’re reading this, chances are you love books. Perhaps you can’t live without them because of the myriad worlds, characters and ideas brought to life within their pages; maybe you treasure the smell, shape and feel of them and believe, as Cicero suitcases-and-books-verticapurportedly did, that “a room without books is like a body without a soul.” (In ancient Rome they were more like scrolls, but we get what he’s saying.)

I suspect that with most book lovers, the passion has a variety of origins. For me, it’s partly genetic (both of my parents were collectors with vast personal libraries), partly academic (English lit majors, represent!), and partly aesthetic (I’m a sucker for a marbleized endpaper and a gilt-lettered spine). Add historic and nostalgic to the list, and you know pretty much all there is to know about my love affair with the printed page.

It’s no accident, then, that I ended up working in the book sale room of the Main Library here in Burlington. One of my duties is to comb through the hundreds of books donated to the library every week and decide whether to keep, sell or recycle each one of them. It’s (very often) a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it — and this old book lover wouldn’t have it any other way.

In my five years at the library, I’ve amassed a veritable trove of vintage and antique OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbooks. Maybe you’ve snagged a nugget or two (or twenty) at one of our semi-annual book sales. But I’ll let you in on a secret:  I’ve been holding back. Which brings us to the matter at hand.

On Sunday, December 4, at the Main Library, 1786 Burlington Pike in Burlington, we’re presenting a very special event at the Main Library: Antique Affair — A Celebration of Books as Objects of Beauty and Creative Inspiration. The main attraction will be an antique and vintage book sale, featuring titles dating from the late-19th to the mid-20th century. There will also be a large selection of holiday-themed children’s and adult books, as well as books specifically offered for crafting and displaying. (All books will be priced between 25 cents and $5 per volume; Library Bucks will not be accepted for vintage books but may be used for all other purchases.)

In addition to the book sale, we’ll have tons of ideas for using books as decorative objects, including unique ways to display books, cute and clever book crafts and holiday decorations, and even a few book projects to try your hand at. And to keep things high on the festive meter, we’ll have Christmas cookies and hot cocoa, and even a few costumed literary characters strolling about. There will be holiday piano concert at 2 p.m. under the dome and Boone County High School Choir will perform at 3:30 p.m. on the second floor stage.

So if, like me, you can’t resist an old book, a decorating idea, or a festive soiree, add BCPL’s Antique Affair to your calendar today. If there are book lovers in your life, it’s the perfect place to knock out your holiday shopping. And who knows — you might even run into Elizabeth Bennet or Lady Grantham while you’re there…

Antique Affair
Sunday, December 4, 1-5 p.m.
Main Library, 1786 Burlington Pike, Burlington


Jenny Walsh has been BCPL’s Purveyor of Unlikely Treasures (read Circulation Assistant — Book Sale Room) since 2011. She, her husband and their four children moved to Boone County from Long Island, NY, in 2007. In addition to books, Jenny gets pretty excited about gardens, travel and old houses.

Paula Deboard celebrates 38 years at Boone County Public Library!

This month Paula Deboard celebrates 38 years of service to Boone County Public Library and the community. She has worked at the library longer than anyone else currently employed here.

“I actually didn’t start out pursuing a job at the library, I came in to say hi to a friend that I went to college with and there just happened to be a temporary position opened — so I applied. I truly fell in love with the work I was doing so I decided to make it my career, and here I am 38 years later!”p1040077

Paula has worked in five different departments at four branches of the library and she says, “There has not been a day go by that I haven’t learned or discovered something new here.”

In the early years of the library, Paula noted that staff members often helped to fill many different roles: “I had to play Mrs. Claus one year when Santa Claus got sick. I also filled in as a pumpkin and read Halloween stories to the kids and played the Easter bunny.”

She was sometimes called upon to help with first aid in the early years, “I helped people who fell in the parking lot and one day I helped a little boy who had a nosebleed in the bathroom.”

When asked what the library was like back in the 70s, Paula said, “We didn’t have Internet back then and no public computers. People came to the library to check out books or attend story time and that was basically it. We had a card catalog and our librarians would wear aprons and run the cards for the catalog on an ink rolling machine. In the morning before we would open, we would have to stamp the due date on all of the check-out cards.”

“When I first started here, people were stereotyped. Librarians were thought to be prim and proper. We are nothing like that. Librarians are caring and approachable and we are very trustworthy.”

Paula shared one of her most rewarding moments at the library, “A patron came in looking for books on leukemia because her brother had just been diagnosed with this blood disease.  I was able to find some information on blood diseases, but better than that, I was able to sit down with her and share valuable information with her since my husband had also been diagnosed with leukemia. I shared what we were going through and gave her references and websites that contained information to answer some of her questions.  Since we had already been through a lot of the tests and a transplant, I was able to tell her what her brother could expect.  I told her to call me anytime she had questions for my husband.  Even though my husband and her brother have since passed away, we have remained friends and we still stay in touch through social media. Who knew that one simple question could turn into a life-long friendship?”

Currently, Paula works as a Technical Service Specialist. She spends her days entering information into the library’s digital catalog and opening shipments of books. “I love opening boxes of new books – it’s like Christmas! Of all the departments that I’ve worked in, I like this one the best. I like the challenge of cataloging new books. I love seeing all the new materials that are coming in and getting them processed and on the shelf as quick as possible.”

When asked what she saw for the future of libraries, Paula said, ‘I feel that public libraries will always be relevant because they offer the freedom to choose what a person wants to read and the format such as digital or paper. Libraries continue to move from the analog to the digital age and we are helping future generations with 21st century technology skills. The Library will always be an important place for people who don’t have Internet at home. This is a place people enjoy coming. This is a great place to be.”