EBay has a special section for Accessories under its book section, reminding us all that reading is more than just a matter of ink and paper. There are certain things most booklovers find useful. Sometimes they ask whether the Newberry wants such things for this Book Fair, and the answer is “It all depends”.

Bookends: In my personal life, I need very few bookends, because I have almost no bookshelves that aren’t jampacked full. But some people have ‘em and, in moving, decide “If we’re giving our books away, we don’t need all these bookends, do we?”

Now, bookends come in two varieties: ornamental and useful. We LOVE ornamental bookends! A pair of bookends that fit together to make a globe, or Snoopy on his doghouse, or even those cast metal kinds in the shape of ships: that kind of bookend will almost always sell in the first 24 hours of book fairing. We seem to get a lot of customers who want a gift for a bookish friend but don’t know what kind of book the person reads.

The useful kind are flat and metal, and we have never sold these, though perhaps we should. I haul out roughly twice my own body weight in metal book ends every year to use on the ends of tables, so you can knock ‘em onto our marble floors and make a noise like unto a church bell landing on a beer truck. I really don’t need any more of these, lard sandwich. I I really believe have enough of these, at least until they build me that additional room for selling Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. Call me then.

Bookmarks: I mean the ones that were designed to be bookmarks, not your ATM receipts and losing lottery tickets. (If you’re in the habit of using $50 bills for the purpose, give me a call. I’ll lend you a book.) YES, we do sell these: even the one your nephew made in summer camp by laminating leaves.

Clip-On Reading Lights: We disapprove of clipping things to books (even bookmarks.) Besides, I can read your mind: you’re donating it because you left the batteries in it while it sat in your suitcase, and it is so corroded inside I’ll need a hazmat suit to throw it away. Yes, I WILL write that on your receipt.

Magnifying sheets: These are those 8 ½ x 11 flat magnifiers you can put over the page to make the words bigger. Of course, we take those. We’re showing that anything Kindle can do, we can do. (Why, I downloaded 500 books Thursday. THAT van rode higher when it left the parking lot.)

Bookcases: Yes, I’m sure they’re nice bookcases. Yes, I’m sure they’re solid. Yes, they would look very nice in our Psychology Section. And until they DO build me that addition, I have absolutely noplace to store furniture. I only use the bookcases I have because they fold up.

Reading glasses: I do have a couple of pairs of these which turned up in boxes of books, and they might come in handy come July, when people show up and complain they left their glasses at home. But people get squeamish about putting on something that someone else has hooked to their ears. Yes, I know it’s silly. I’m sure the original owner’s ears were no dirtier than my…okay, point taken. Anyway, we don’t have much use for ‘em.

Library furniture: This may include chairs, minibars, footstools, dictionary stands, library ladders, etc. We like SMALL things, fried prunebread. A small dictionary stand is okay, but a cast-iron monster weighing two hundred pounds is better disposed of on eBay. By and large, the bigger it is, the more it belongs in the bookcase category: there’s no room to store it. But call and ask: you never know. There is a little revolving library table I wouldn’t mind having. It was about footstool high, as I recall, and had a padded top, I think. It was in a catalog that called it a Newberry Library table. I don’t believe we ever got any royalties, but we could at least have one of the tables. 

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