I have always loved old books.
It's an indiscriminate love, taking in almost every genre, age group, and topic. My house is full of bookshelves, and the floors of nearly every room have neatly piled stacks for the overflow. A library book sale is a thing of beauty, garage sales with cardboard boxes full of unwanted volumes a close second. Right now, on my table, I have Volume VI of The Young Folks Treasury series, copyright 1921, titled Travels and Adventures that my grandparents purchased for my father and his brother when they were young. I also have CeCile Hulse Matschat's Suwanee River: Strange Green Land copyright 1938, The French Quarter by Herbert Asbury copyright 1936, and The Aldine Readers Book Four by Frank E. Spaulding and Catherine T. Bryce, copyright 1908. Every one is fascinating in its own way, each one a sliver of time travel you can hold in your hand. All are well-worn; the word pristine never enters the picture.
So it's no small wonder, that eventually, after many detours, I became a librarian, specifically a children's librarian, working in both public and school libraries.
Libraries are very good things but they face a number of challenges. Funding looms large on the list. In school libraries, for those schools fortunate enough to have a library, lack of funding often translates into little to no money for acquisitions. I've work in school libraries with brand new collections - fantastic! - and in school libraries where the average age of the fiction collection was pushing the three decade mark. Not fantastic.
Faced with older collections and limited funds for newer books, it's imperative, among other things, to fully utilize what you do have - older books.
Not all older books are gems. Some need to be tossed, quickly. Old books make great library decorations, and there's always the book art option. But some old books are gems, and those are the books I'm spotlighting in Second Look Books.
So, every week, I offer a little about the books and a little about the authors, illustrators and publishers.
Hopefully, the posts will lead you to some undiscovered gems in your own collections.