Maybe it has something to do with the recent death of Ray Bradbury, and memories of Farenheit 451, but Shaunna Raycraft has found lots of help with her 200,000+ books.
Seven years ago, the Pine Lake, Sask. woman rescued the massive literary hoard from a neighbour, who had threatened to burn it after her collector husband died. Raycraft couldn’t bear to see the collection, which included a charred first edition copy of Black Beauty, go up in smoke.
At that time, the stash stood at about 350,000 books. Raycraft and some supporters managed to sort and donate about 100,000 to various schools in Africa, Mexico, and Northern Saskatchewan. However, still overwhelmed by the size of the collection, which is literally causing the small house in which it’s stored to collapse, she recently announced that she might have to burn the rest herself.
“The irony of it is not lost on me,” Raycraft told the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. “It’s been seven years and about $15,000 into it. I’m done.” The mother of three added, “I really need people to step up and give me a hand to get these books to people who need them.”
No problem. Via the Raycraft Book Collection facebook page, scores of fellow booklovers will join her starting July 1st for a good old-fashioned, Saskatchewan-style barn-raising book-sorting. “I would like to feed ya’all Friday night,” Raycraft advises on the page. “I plan on having a band (or two), good eats and good times for those of you with like minds!” Unfortunately, any books still unclaimed by the evening of July 6th will still get the bonfire treatment. Says one volunteer: “I’ll be arriving on July 2 and staying till the 8th. Wanna pack a bunch to ship back and strangely want to see books burn.”
Hmm. Anyway, volunteers are still welcome to use the page to sign up. Ms. Raycraft says she has plenty of boxes.
– With files from Emily Olesen