Appraiser gives old books new value

By Katie Bush

About five years ago, Sara Beth Ruble opened her first copy of “Gone With the Wind.” But one copy wasn’t enough, and since that first encounter with Margaret Mitchell’s novel, Ruble has collected about five different copies of the classic tale.

She had no idea her hobby could actually be profitable.

“I didn’t even think about collecting old copies of ‘Gone With the Wind’ until I saw one at a flea market,” Ruble said. “It was only $5, but I hope that it’s worth a little bit more than that.”

One book appraiser, lecturer and bibliophile will be on campus today and tomorrow for UK Libraries’ “Book Lovers’ Road Show” to talk on the history of books, specifically the publishing industry, and host a book appraisal for people like Ruble curious about the value of their books.

Jack Walsdorf will give a speech today entitled “My Life With Books” at 7 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Margaret I. King Building and concentrate on book collecting. The speech will include a question and answer session about books.

“Meeting and/or seeing Jack in action truly improves people’s lives, since he is enthusiastic and inclusive when talking about his subject,” said event coordinator Gordon Hogg.

Walsdorf received his master’s degree in library science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He worked in both the U.S. and Great Britain as a librarian and has edited or written 15 books on the history of publishing and bibliography.

Tomorrow from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Walsdorf will host his “Book Lovers’ Road Show” in the Niles Gallery of the Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library, where he will appraise one or two books per visitor.

“UK Libraries is hosting Jack Walsdorf and his road show because we wanted to repeat the success we had with his visit in November 2001,” Hogg said. “Walsdorf’s commentary is always entertaining and educational.”

The events are free of charge, and those wishing to have a book appraised must pre-register for a place in line by contacting Esther Edwards by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (859) 257-1742. You can also register at the event on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“I never imagined there was someone who did this. It’s such a great idea, because there are tons of people who collect a specific book or have really old ones lying around,” Ruble said. “It might be a little nerdy, but I think there are a lot more people interested than you would think.”