Monday, July 30, 2012

An Amazing Estate Sale

I enjoy going to garage sales, although I rarely go out of my way to attend one.  I'm intrinsically cheap, so I like the idea of picking up some cool kitchen gadget, or attractive bit of decoration, for next to nothing.  I rarely see books I want, though; it's amazing how many copies of The Da Vinci Code there are in the world, for instance.

This past weekend was an exception.  My significant other, Mark, and I happened on an estate sale a few blocks from our house while we were walking to the grocery store.  It was a beautiful, large 4-bedroom house, and evidently had been inhabited by one person alone.  Two of the four bedrooms were libraries.

We were enthralled.  The books were mostly hardbacks, and in beautiful condition.  The collection was eclectic, but tended towards science, history, and economics, and the books were well-organized.  There was even a shelf of books about books and libraries; I bought a copy of The Island of Lost Maps, which I've been planning to read since I heard about it at a session at the OLA conference.  We bought as much as we could fit in our backpacks (mostly science), and had to go home to drop them off before we could haul any groceries.  We ended up going back twice in the next day (when everything was half price), the second time specifically to get a book by Buckminster Fuller that Mark had noticed the day before.

It wasn't until I was going through my haul yesterday evening that I noticed all the books have small labels on the spines.  Yes, they were classified!  Each had the first part of the LC class number (but didn't include the cutter).  I've wondered why there's still Cataloging in Publication in books, since most libraries get their records from OCLC, but here was an example of why CIP can still be useful.

I ended up wishing I'd know the person (who, according to someone who knew him, was a computer programmer, not a librarian).  We definitely had interests in common, and, judging from his library, I'd say he was in the wrong profession.  Whoever he was, I'll think fondly of him as I work my way through this rich bounty of books.

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