I have owned my book kiosk for about 18 months, and it has been an amazing experience.
I visit my little book nook almost daily because the bottom line for me is that it is my box for books. I take almost all drop-offs and check them for junk — notes like “for a good time, call Robert Galpin,” pamphlets selling stuff, or commercial promotional material are all removed.
I originally kept a blank notebook and pen in the kiosk so there could be communication between the patrons and myself until I was disgusted to find it facing out — so everyone including kids could read it — with a message of obscenity and threat. The notebook has still not been replaced.
The kiosk is not a garbage can — please don’t bother to leave a book filled with black mold, tar, nicotine and other gross substances. Those books have been disposed of properly. I also do not want textbooks or books that are 20 years old. Anyone who wants to read “Helter Skelter” or “Hotel” has had plenty of opportunity before now. And to the author who self-published the search for their sexual identity — sorry but it was too boring for words and has been put out of its own misery.
The positives definitely outweigh the negatives. Strangers who say hello and thank me can make my day. The fellow who was recovering from a severe illness and still too debilitated to get to the public library but could be driven to my book box and pick out “my own” book told me that it gave him great joy.
Selfishly, I have found books that might not have come into my own life that I have loved. What a treat! The “letters” left by a family after my library had been robbed meant so much. Nothing is sweeter than hearts and stickers left by a child.
The note I cherish the most is from a mom who said, “My little girl thinks you left the bunny book just for her.”
Linda Osborne lives in Medford.