BENTON -- A personal book collection comprised of works spanning over 100 years will be available through a library fundraiser this weekend in Scott County.
Bernice Kern, librarian at Riverside Regional Library in Benton, said a patron passed away this year and left part of their book collection -- which includes over 1,000 titles -- to the library.
"We've never encountered anything like this before," said Kern, who is in her 38th year as the Benton librarian. "Most of these books are authors we do not recognize because they're so old."
The best thing library staff and members of its organization, Friends of the Library, knew to do was hold a rare book sale, which is set for 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the library in Benton. Proceeds will benefit the Friends of the Library.
The collection spans from the 1800s to the 1980s with the bulk of the books published in the early 1900s, 1940s and 1950s, Kern said.
Many of the books aren't even identified with an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), which was created in the 1960s. Many of the copyright dates are typed in Roman numerals, Kern said.
"Most of these books wouldn't have held up under use in the library," said clerk Gwen Streeter.
Streeter, along with some members of the Scott County Historical and Genealogy Society, has spent the past several weeks, sorting through the books and researching their value through online book sites.
The rare books for sale range in price from $1 to $50 although at least one title was valued at $800, Kern and Streeter said.
Some the books for sale are collector items for science fiction readers. Others are very hard-to-find children's books like "The Little Elf Junior" books or early 1900s textbooks like "The Sunbonnet Babies Primer" and the reader "Aleck and His Friends." Several are 100-year-old books such as "The Heatherford Fortune," published in 1808.
"It's fun when people come along and enjoy the books," Streeter said.
For the entire story, see the Nov. 17 edition of the Standard Democrat or click here to log on to the electronic edition.