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Library Employees Intercept Unlikely Donation on its Way to Friends of the Library Book Sale

When library staff found this rare book of Jewish daily prayers on its way to the Friends of the Library Book Sale, they knew they'd need to do a little digging to see where it really belonged

Something just didn't seem right about selling a tiny, bejeweled, metal-bound book in the most recent Friends of Library Book Sale.

So, when North Canton Public Library staff saw that it had been donated for just that, they knew they'd have to do a little digging to see where the best home for the book might be.

Thanks to the research of Jonathan Harris, an NCPL adult and teen services librarian, the book was on its way to the Hebrew and Jewish Studies Library at the Ohio State University Thursday.

The book is encased with a silver cover with intricate engravings and is published half in Hebrew and half in German. It originally was published in 1858.

"Although we appreciate the donation, we are really not the best stewards for this," Library Director Sandi Lang said at Wednesday's library board meeting. "It was a case where the staff paid attention and this was not the usual thing to go in a Friends book sale. This will allow for better preservation of that particular piece."

Harris described his initial reaction to seeing the book.

"My first thought was, 'Why would someone give this to us?' he said. "It was hard to believe someone's first thought was, 'Let's give this to the local library.'"

But, the donation to the book sale did provide some excitement (in the form of research, of course). Not fluent in German or Hebrew, Harris said he turned to the world library catalog, WORLDCAT, to research the book and figure out where its most suitable home would be.

He was on his way to Columbus Thursday to drop the book off at the Ohio State University.

Lang said the book was valued at about $50, according to a search on eBay.

"You just never know what's going to come in a box. For all we know, the person who donated it might not have even known what it was."

helen October 19, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Wow, what a find. Good for the library to dig further. The historical value of this book cannot be measured in dollars. Kudos to the LIbrary !!!!

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