Several concepts melded together at once: a friend was trapped in an abusive relationship; I am an Adult Services Librarian, with a focus on collection development, meaning that I am one of the adult materials purchasers for the library, and we also maintain the collection by routinely discarding (aka withdrawing, deselecting, weeding) books that are MUSTIE. Usually, discarded library books are diverted to either the Friends of the Library (FOL) store and sales, local recycling programs, book non-profits, etc. While some local libraries have passed their weeded books to me, I’ve also purchased discarded library books from the FOL stores we are also able to support local library programming and funding. From my perspective, this is a win-win.
I’ve worked in libraries for over a decade, and because of my interests in collection development and readers’ advisory (matching a reader to a book), I understand (kind of?) how publishing, bookstore purchasing, and book recycling all can work together. Beyond the books, I also specialize in reference and information services, meaning I’ve had the unfortunate honor of helping patrons connect to social services, including DV/IPV resources at the Reference Desk.
I also looked at my personal cultural heritage. Along with Reference work comes genealogy, which is a passionate hobby of mine. My family research is related to Lithuania, where I learned about the Knygnešiai, or the Lithuanian Book Carriers during the 1860s Russification of Tsarist Lithuania. From Michael Water’s article for Atlas Obscura:
In 1864, the Governor General of Lithuania, Mikhail Muravyov, forbade the use of Latin Lithuanian language primers—a proclamation that, two years later, led to a total ban on the Lithuanian press.
Language had long been a point of contention in Tsarist Lithuania. In the middle of the 19th century, in order to assimilate the peasant class, the Russian scholar Alexander Hilferding proposed that the Lithuanian language, which uses a Latin alphabet, be converted to a Russian Cyrillic alphabet.The Lithuanian press ban was therefore an attempt to eradicate the Lithuanian language and promote loyalty to the Russian cause. Lithuanian children were also required to attend Russian state schools, where they would learn the Cyrillic alphabet through books printed by the Russian government.
Between 1864 and 1904 book smuggling societies across Lithuania brought in and hid millions of books printed in Lithuanian. Children hid in small groups when attending their village’s Lithuanian School, conducted in secret. An estimated 30,000-40,000 books/printed materials were smuggled annually during the past years of the ban, with about a third of those ultimately confiscated by the Russians. When caught, the book smugglers were punished by fines, banishment, and exile, including deportation to Siberia.
Be a knygnešys: a book-smuggling freedom fighter!
I am unable to accept phones as donations as this time (though I hope that changes in the future). Until then, if you’d like to donate your old cell phones, please see the NCADV’s Donate a Phone Program.
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*Molly is a nickname for Mary – true story!