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30-ton book collection in Canada slated for burning

June 19, 2012 | 10:04 am

It's taken Shauna Raycraft seven years to sort through just a third of the massive book collection she volunteered to distribute. Now, she's asked for help before resorting to burning them
How to dispense with 30 tons of books? Burn them, the custodian of a massive Canadian collection has decided.

It's the second time the book collection in Saskatoon has been slated for a fiery end. Seven years ago, when her neighbor died, Shauna Raycraft intervened and saved the books from destruction. The neighbor's widow, faced with the prospect of getting rid of her husband's 300,000 books, had wanted to simply burn them.

Raycraft had the books trucked to her property. Over the better part of a decade, she has managed to sort only a third of them; about 200,000 remain.

Raycraft has put out a call for help. She said she doesn't want to burn the books but that she can't hold on to them anymore. She's hoping that during the first week of July volunteers will come and help her sort the books, finding those that are appropriate to send to charities and collectors.

There's a Facebook group for the Raycraft book collection where people interested can sign up to help. Raycraft noted that she prefers there be no "grabbing," writing that "I am willing to give volunteers books but my primary objective is to donate to readers in need!"

What books are in the massive collection? Even Raycraft doesn't know them all. Some books were organized, she tells the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, while others the deceased collector seemed to have bought in bulk without ever opening the boxes.

"I like looking at the years of books," Raycraft told the paper. "I like looking at which school the books came from, or seeing the little shopping lists and notes that fall out of them."

Her husband does not feel the same way. She said he's ready to burn down the building where the books are stored.
"If Raycraft doesn't get help sorting through the 200,000 remaining titles by the end of the month," the StarPhoenix reported, "she is calling in the fire department and burning the rest."

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Photo credit: William Warby via Flickr

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