How I Liberated the New Lincoln School Library

A year ago I visited a local thrift store with my mother.  As a former preschool director she was drawn to the children’s books section. There she discovered 30 books. Inside of each book was stamped, “The New Lincoln School Library”.  I was curious as to how these books wound up in a thrift shop. Were they stolen, donated, thrown away?

These were the books of our childhood, the inspirations for our exploration, creativity and questioning. It seemed wrong to me that they had become mere objects of commerce.  I believed these books needed to be liberated and returned to us – the children of New Lincoln.

Needless to say, the store manager would not give me the books, albeit for a worthy cause. When he refused to lower the price, I raised my voice so that everyone could hear me say that these were NOT his books to sell, they belonged to me and my schoolmates. I indignantly claimed  that the books had probably been stolen and that he should be ashamed of himself for selling stolen library books. I offered to return the books to their rightful owners for the mere $15 I had in my pocket.

Either out of humiliation or simply to restore peace and quiet to the store he agreed and packed up 2 shopping bags of books. My very polite mother though horrified by my behavior, giggled with me as we lugged them home on the cross town bus.

So now you have learned the real motivation for our gathering tonight – to return the books to their rightful owners.  I offer you this gift from your childhood, a book from the New Lincoln School Library.  I encourage you  to share it with your family, friends, children, grandchildren.  But if you accept this gift you must promise me one thing – never throw it away, discard it or give it back to a thrift store. This book is precious.