Friday, December 11, 2009

The Gift of Book Care

Here's a thought for last-minute gift-giving for the book lover: it doesn't require shopping or wrapping or shipping, and it's right there at your fingertips. It's a gift of time and attention, and the recipients are not just people you care for but books that need care.

You may know someone whose books and shelves would benefit from a simple dusting. Whether that someone never thinks about it or never gets around to it, books deserve this most basic courtesy. And it's a courtesy that benefits the spaces those books live in, and everyone else who lives there, too. Maybe a friend or family member has spoken about wanting to reorganize their books, but can't decide on strict alphabetical order by author or shelving by topic. Offer to help with the tasks and decisions, or to undertake them on your own. Chances are your offer will be considered unusual if not outright unique. Revel in it! The work can be done at a leisurely pace, perhaps an hour or so every second Thursday evening or whatever suits all concerned. It's a grand opportunity for coffee and pastry or wine and cheese, catching up on the latest scuttlebutt or just shooting the breeze.

Can't imagine making such an offer? Have you ever walked a friend's dog? Gotten the mail or some groceries for a neighbor? Then helping someone take care of their books should be in your repertoire. It may take a little longer than those other acts of kindness, but since when does friendship come with a stopwatch?

It's a gift you can give yourself, too. And don't forget to reward yourself with a big bag of new books.


  1. Now there's an idea I can get behind! If only I could teach the dog to dust. (I already have a little black cat whose middle name is "Swiffer," but he's only good for floor-level dusting.)

  2. Books, my favourite gift to give and receive! And I love the book care idea.