By Lorraine Palmé
When I learned to read as a 5-year-old in Brooklyn, my aim in life was to read all the books in the library. I started very systematically and alphabetically to achieve my goal.
By the time I received my gold card and had to leave the children’s section, I had already read all of Louisa May Alcott and James Fenimore Cooper.
When we first moved to Jackson, we had a bookmobile that came to our housing development.
I paid an additional nominal fee to use the Lakewood library, which at that time was not part of the Ocean County Library System, and I have been a member of the Jackson Library since its inception.
After I retired, I felt it was time to volunteer my services to the community in which I had lived for more than 40 years. What better place to start than the library, which I loved?
In 2008, I joined the Friends of the Library. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made, that, plus my selection of a life partner.
There are many perks to a $10 individual membership fee. I have been fortunate enough to meet and work with a great bunch of people who have spearheaded many annual book sales and fundraisers over the years.
Their efforts have allowed the Friends to beautify the library campus, sponsor programs, procure additional supplies and purchase computer equipment.
Running these book sales is a daunting endeavor. Many work hours are needed for months before the actual sale begins. Before I joined the Friends and started sorting books, I never knew there was a third floor to the library building.
All of the books that have been designated to be discarded are kept here, as well as used books that have been donated by members of the public during the previous year. Of note is all of the self-help books that readers have purchased and discarded.
There are boxes of books about child rearing, from pre-conception to living with adult children. Apparently, the empty nest syndrome is no longer an issue as the children are not leaving. It just goes to show these parents did not raise any dumb children.
There were thousands of books to be cataloged. I estimate we sorted roughly 20,000-plus books that we tried to separate by subject matter.
Some books are undefinable, such as “Embalming: History, Theory and Practice,” and the No. 1 best seller, “Uplift: The History of the Bra in America.”
There were books that were sold for as little as a dime, yet we still realized a profit of several thousand dollars, all in all a worthwhile effort.
Because of the COVID-19 virus, there have been no fundraising activities for the past year. Hopefully, that will change soon.
In the meantime, if you are available to lend a hand, your help with the sorting process would be greatly appreciated.
There is a daunting amount of work to be done, as many people have been spending their isolation time cleaning and sorting, and they have been chomping at the bit to donate their books to the library.
Even if you are unable to help, visit and enjoy your beautiful Jackson Library. Recycle! Relish! Read!
And consider this quote from Albert Einstein, who said, “The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.”
Lorraine Palmé is a resident of Westlake Golf and Country Club, Jackson.