|From the Humboldt Journal
For the past few years a
resident, Shaunna Raycraft, has been dealing with a TBR pile of 350,000 books! Saskatchewan
Seven years ago Shaunna and her husband heard that the widow of a recently deceased neighbour, Keith McCoy, was having difficulty coping with her husband’s book collection. When they visited her they found a 3 storey home filled with books from floor to ceiling. The widow was considering burning the books. Loving books Shaunna and her husband did not want to see them destroyed.
I spoke to Shaunna today. She said her neighbour had started building the collection by buying books conventionally. He went on to buy extensive numbers of books through library sales and the Saskatoon Symphony book sales. He would also buy collections at
farm and home auctions. He just kept adding to his collection. Saskatchewan
I thought about assembling a 350,000 book collection. If he was buying over 50 years it is still 7,000 books a year or almost 20 books every day for over 13,000 days!
Included in the books are a lot of religious books, a considerable amount of fiction, many children books and tons of baseball books.
Pooling their savings at that time they offered her $823 and purchased the collection.
Where to store tonnes and tonnes of books? They ended up purchasing a house and moving it to their acreage and filling it with the books. Last year the weight of the books started collapsing the house and causing roof leaks. While they dealt with the structural problems it was time to dispose of the books.
She sought volunteers and over the summer of 2011 about 70 people helped her sort books. She was able to give away about 100,000 books to non-profit organizations such as the Northern Literacy Program of North Woods College.
Unfortunately, her marriage has failed and it is time to deal with the remaining 250,000 books. Shaunna turned down a couple of commercial offers for the books not wanting to see them sold for profit.
Shaunna has decided on a grand week long book sort this coming week. She has invited volunteers to join her during the week. She told me in addition to
residents there are people coming from Saskatchewan , Vancouver and the Toronto U.S.
She will be donating as many books as she can to
organizations such as the Gabriel Dumont Institute, a Metis group, and Saskatchewan cadets. Saskatchewan
Through connections with a priest thousands of books will be going to schools and monasteries in
Whatever books are not dealt with this week she will regretfully burn. She says there has been a lot of interest so she hopes there will not be many books left at the end of the week.
Shaunna urged me to come to visit her. She said there are mystery books I could take home. I said I would try to find the time to travel the 250 km to
. I am tempted. Pike Lake
If you have some spare time and want to see 250,000 books being dealt with and participate in the sort you can get in your car or on the next plane to
. You can find out more about Shaunna’s plans this week by going to the Raycraft Book Collection Group on Facebook. Saskatchewan
And I thought I had major TBR piles on my desk and a few neighbouring book shelves. My total TBR are barely worth mentioning next to Shaunna.
(With barely a million people in
there are inevitably connections. It turns out that Shaunna’s mother and my sister and my wife were friends in high school at St. Ursula’s Academy in Bruno.) Saskatchewan