Sunday, May 01, 2016

Another day at the Bottom Shelf

Every day at the Bottom Shelf is a good day. This week we came home with $13.00 worth of books. A slow sales day, only $107.00 landed in the till. We, the volunteers, contributed more than 10% of the revenue. I wonder if the same phenomenom exists with the other workers? We never come home empty-handed. 

Grandparents come in and buy books in volume. They say they like to keep them in their homes for when the grandkids visit. Most are very good at rooting out the classics...Dr. Seuss doesn't linger on the shelves. 

A woman bought an old songbook of simple children's songs. She told me she'd just returned from Thailand where she'd been in a classroom of little ones being taught English by a non-English speaker. Her plan was to record herself singing the songs and send the tape to the class so the kids could hear "American" English. 

Another woman was breathless at the cash register and in a hurry. She lived just outside of Beijing but she and her husband were former Fallbrookians and kept a house here. They visit about once a year and one of her favorite haunts is the Bottom Shelf. She had an armload of stuff. They intend to stay in China.

My Otolaryngology textbook has made it up to the top shelf! It was in the inventory of books to sell online but had languished there for some time. I purchased it and took it to the big Otolaryngologists convention in San Diego and was going to award it to some deserving physician. That didn't work out so I brought it back to the BS hoping someone might take an interest. It's an old text and only of use curiosity or for a collector. 

A man with Piagets disease wandered in and started a conversation about his vinyl record collection. Several people within earshot of the speaker chimed in saying they either still had their vinyl or sadly, had recently sold it. That's what I did....took Richard's collection, about 4 years ago, to the store in Old Town Temecula and pocketed the cash; not for the money but to free up the storage space. Bad mistake. The badly bent-over man made a suggestion that someone could request use of the community room one night a week and present a program of vinyl records. All the DJ would have to do, he opined, was read the liner notes from the albums..that would suffice for introduction of the records. He mentioned that he was considering donating his sound equipment to the library for this purpose. Off he went, full of resolve. We'll see what happens.

Another woman spent about an hour going through the classics section. When she cashed out she had
at least eight great looking volumes she sifted out of the clutter. Really nice books with lovely illustrations and nice bindings. You won't find an over-looked valuable book on the shelves because they are all scanned for their IBN's and checked out for value. Nevertheless, there are some beautiful books that show up there - maybe not so rare, but beautiful to have on your bookshelf. There are great finds in the store if you have the patience to look carefully.

Last but not least, a woman bought a book on the south coast of England. Her sister, she said, was writing a musical about Mary Anning of "She sells sea shells by the sea shore" fame and she'd just returned from Lyme Regis. As I've been in LR, we had a pleasant discussion about the area. I could have talked to this woman for an hour at least.

I'm starting to know the regulars and there are quite a few of them. These are the people who hang out first at the library and then, like dessert, they finish with a stop at the Bottom Shelf. Perhaps they spend a dime or maybe a dollar. Either way, they leave feeling they have scored a big bargain.

And that's why it's so much fun working at the Bottom Shelf.


  1. What a great description of working at The Bottom Shelf! It almost makes me want to join you and Nancy. Maybe someday...after I volunteer at the Animal Sanctuary.

  2. what a great description of the bottom shelf. I'm jealous of the woman that scored those beautiful classics. wish i had seen them first. what a wonderful collection of people visits that tiny store and what a wonderful collection of books. it's fallbrook's best kept secret.