Shaunna Raycraft has found herself in quite the dilemma. In 2005, the resident of Pike Lake, Saskatchewan, took possession of her deceased neighbour’s book collection, thereby saving more than 300,000 tomes from being incinerated. Now it seems what was intended as a full pardon was only a stay of execution.
On Monday, Saskatoon’s StarPhoenix reported that Raycraft has only managed to offload about one third of the pile. Unless she gets the rest of the books to their new homes (the majority are destined to be donated to Better World Books, as well as charitable organizations in Northern Saskatchewan and Africa) and finds volunteers to help her sort through all the titles, she’ll have no choice but to send them to their fiery graves after all.
“It’s been seven years of my life. It’s been all of my youngest daughter’s life, most of my oldest daughter’s life,” [Raycraft said] … “I really need people to step up and give me a hand to get these books to people who need them,” she said. “My husband just wants to burn the building down right now, he just wants it done with. It’s a shame we couldn’t do more with it, but I’m only one person.”
News outlets across Canada and in the U.S. have picked up on the story, and book lovers far and wide have responded to Raycraft’s call for help on her Raycraft Book Collection Facebook page and her Book Sort 2012 Facebook event announcement. While fewer than 30 people have signed on through Facebook to volunteer at the book sort/backyard BBQ/bonfire from July 1 to July 7, a number have posted messages of support. She’s also called on interested parties who can’t attend the book sort to make a financial donation to defray costs associated with the event and shipping the books. (Raycraft told the StarPhoenix that she’s already spent around $15,000 dealing with the collection.)
No doubt some of these books will still wind up in the fire pit. As Raycraft mentions in one of her Facebook posts, a number of them are mouldy and “beyond saving.”