In 1930s Kentucky, in coal country, books made their way to remote and isolated regions of the state through The Pack Horse Library Project.
I just heard this story on NPR this morning and though “Modern Little Free Librarians have it so easy…”
I like your method and did much the same myself this past September. The smallest “book box” one can find is certainly the key.
One thing you’re missing, at least in several of the photographs, that would help for both general shelf wear as well as for packing/moving is to have all of your dust jackets covered with book jacket covers. This will help protect your dust jackets from wear and tear and help increase their long term value, particularly for rarer first editions.
I notice that some of your collection likely already has these, à la the Heinlein, though it’s obvious in that case that a book seller likely jacketed it far too late to protect the pristine original. At least it’s protected from further future wear. If you think it’s worth the time and protection, it may be a worthwhile thing to do when you’re unpacking and reshelving them on the other end.
Brodart is one of the larger sellers of dust jacket covers and they make a huge variety of shapes, sizes, and types. I’ve found that their Advantage I covers are pretty solid and versatile for most of the book sizes you’ve got. Though fair warning: you can go down the rabbit hole and lose a few hours researching dust cover materials and archival types. In the end you want to look for something that covers the jacket, but doesn’t stick to it. This will allow you to replace the jacket cover with a new one if necessary without causing damage to the dust jacket itself.
So there was a MYSTERY at the library today.
A wee old women came in and said "I've a question. Why does page 7 in all the books I take out have the 7 underlined in pen? It seems odd."
"What?" I say, thinking she might be a bit off her rocker. She showed me, and they did.
I asked if she was doing it, she said she wasnt and showed me the new book she was getting out that she hadnt even had yet. It also had the 7 underlined! "I don't know, maybe someone really likes page 7?" I said, assuming of course that there is a serial killer in the library.
I checked some other books. Most didn't have it, but a lot in this genre did - they're "wee old women" books (romances set in wartime Britain etc). Lots of underlined 7s. The woman who pointed it out shrugged and went on her way, "just thought you should know".
My manager came back from doing arts and crafts with some of the kids and I decide to tell her about the serial killer in the library.
And that’s how I found out that a lot of our elderly clientele have secret codes to mark which books they’ve read before.
Our computers do it automatically but many have been doing it since before that was possible, so Esther might underline page 7, while Anne might draw a little star on the last page, and Fred might put an “f” on the title page. Then when they pick it up, they can check!
It’s quite clever really but now I’m dying to just underline page 7 of every new wee old women book we get in.
So, good news: there’s not a serial killer in the library whose MO include the number 7 and wartime romances. Bad news: people are defacing books rather than just asking us to scan them (smiling face with smiling eyes)
I'm now concerned that the amount of people enjoying this thread means there's going to be a new spate of readers using secret codes - apologies to librarians everywhere!
(although, in truth, I find it hard to be annoyed about it - better than torn pages and felt pen graffiti!)
(Also, I am new to the library job, hence why I hadn't seen it before! The library and our customers are great though (smiling face with smiling eyes))
Just had another victim of the page 7 vandal returned!!!
(Now checking every book that looks like it might be their taste...)
This is such an interesting little story including some cultural anthropology.