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BarnOwl
02-07-2005, 04:30 PM
It's a full set of 1984 Encyclopedia Brittanica, 30 volumes in all, and my wife kinda wants to throw them out. We could damn well use the shelves for other books, but the idea of trashing these things...

Problem is it seems like a sin to toss them. Nobody wants such old timey stuff. But they've graced our den from the time when they were brand new.

What to do?

Ghanima
02-07-2005, 04:35 PM
Find an interior decorator who loves that kind of shit. :cool:





Or build the best bonfire ever and invite your friends over for "an old-fashioned book-burning" :D

fruitbat
02-07-2005, 04:35 PM
I am sorry to say this, but you toss them. There isn't a goodwill shop, or used book store that would take them from you. Encyclopedias have outlived their usefulness and are now populating landfills everywhere.

It pains me to throw away any book, but encyclopedias are an exception.

silenus
02-07-2005, 04:37 PM
Recycle bin. They also make nifty targets. :D

Shirley Ujest
02-07-2005, 04:41 PM
Book Purses! (http://craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=5963.0)

stpauler
02-07-2005, 04:48 PM
You could rip out the pages and stick in blank sheets to create journals /scrapbooks/ photo albums with fun (and alphabetical) covers.

Martin Hyde
02-07-2005, 04:50 PM
I'd probably never throw away a full set of high quality encyclopedias. Sure, some of the information isn't updated but a lot of it is still very valuable. I mean, an encyclopedia is there to give rudimentary knowledge on a huge range of subjects. So articles on almost any historical event will never go out of date. Sure future discoveries may change some aspects of our understanding of the historical event but since encyclopedias tend to focus on the "overview" aspects they would still be useful in that context.

I'd keep them and try to pass them off to friends who have kids and may want them as an educational tool, and there's lots of people who couldn't afford the updated versions of encyclopedia sets as they tend to be pretty expensive.

Shirley Ujest
02-07-2005, 04:50 PM
You could use the pages to decoupage a room ( bathroom ) or wrap future presents. Recycle, man. Recycle.

Practice paper for origami.

BarnOwl
02-07-2005, 05:12 PM
I think I'll take Martin Hyde's advice and maybe try to find a home for them, but at some unspecified time in the distant future..

The truth is, I just can't throw them away, or tear them up for gift wrapping, purse making or bathroom decorating. They are old friends.

Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions.

Ms Boods
02-07-2005, 05:29 PM
My Britannica's date from 1929 (my granddad bought them from a traveling salesman, not a burglar, honestly!) -- I used to enjoy reading them all through university, both because the entries on a lot of the mediaeval topics were still informative, and also as historical pieces themselves (entries on motion pictures, television, astronomy, &c).

I'm hoping to be able to have them at my own house someday, but right now there isn't any room (my grandad didn't just get the volumes, but they came with their own bookcase just like you would see free standing in a library.)

So who knows; hang on to your set for 75 years, and perhaps someone will be grateful to peruse it as a time-piece of knowledge as it stood by in the 1980s!

Can Handle the Truth
02-07-2005, 05:39 PM
I'm going to keep my dad's 1958 Britannicas forever.

Girl From Mars
02-07-2005, 05:56 PM
I've got a full 1986 set, and they are really useful still when I want to look something up but can't be bothered booting up the computer and logging onto the net - most of the historical/science stuff is still relevant. Plus there's something cool feeling about looking up info in such a big book, which you never get from the net. I'm shifting to the UK in a couple of months, but my Encyclopaedia Britannica is going on the 'not throwing out - store for future' pile.

Frank
02-07-2005, 06:02 PM
I have a 1991 set of the Britanicca, and they're not going anywhere unless I get a new version. (If they're still printing them when I'm ready.) I actually read them; I keep the current volume on the dining room table and if there is nothing better to read, I'll browse for a while. Takes me about three years to get through from start to finish.

You may guess that my answer is: keep them.

Sternvogel
02-07-2005, 06:04 PM
Some people who live in rural or near-wilderness areas are known for taking in all manner of stray and unwanted critters. Well, if I ever become rich enough to afford a huge estate, I'll build a large structure and dedicate it to housing your encyclopedias and other books, as well as magazines and other printed materials, that are too good to throw away but too inconvenient to keep. You'll be able to visit the Brittanica volumes whenever you like, and other bibliophiles will be allowed to browse through the stacks -- maybe even buy (or just keep) writings whose consigners aren't as sentimental as are you.

In the meantime, consider asking around at local theaters (school or community playhouses) to see if any prop departments can use the books as potential components of stage sets.

Slithy Tove
02-08-2005, 12:33 AM
In 1967 my parents aquired a 1950 set of World Book ecyclopedia. If I can credit the life-of-the-mind's birth that's enabled me to survive the alternate, shitty universe of my daily life, it would be the reading of that set.

Offhand, while the biogrpahy of hymn-composer Fannie Crosby, or women's novelist Fannie Hurst, is lost to the modern age, as well as to all but the most arcane interned searches, there be both fannies splayed open to all on the pages of an archaic encyclopedia. What more could you ask?

I think it was Bertrand Russel who lamented "It's a pity there's so little useless information around these days." I've grown to cherish a printed voice from the past that bekons me "here is something that is interesting to know and is utterly worthless," which no houseful of love should be without.

Shirley Ujest
02-08-2005, 06:51 AM
there be both fannies splayed open to all on the pages of an archaic encyclopedia. What more could you ask?


You've waited for years to use their names like this, haven't you? :dubious:

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
02-08-2005, 07:01 AM
Hollow them out, & convert them into filing boxes for bills, or places to hide stuff.
A little spray epoxy for the pages, a moto-tool to cut, & bob's your uncle!

Kalhoun
02-08-2005, 07:07 AM
I'd probably never throw away a full set of high quality encyclopedias. Sure, some of the information isn't updated but a lot of it is still very valuable
Me either. I have some friends who don't buy ANY reference books. Their daughter can always use at least SOME of the information in my old almanacs and encyclopedias. They're good to someone. I say ask around. You could even put them at the bottom of your driveway on a nice day with a "free" sign on them. Someone can use them.

Tripler
02-08-2005, 07:15 AM
I'll take 'em off your hands. Where are you at?

:: drools :: I've always wanted an old set of encyclopedia. I can hollow out some of the pages and hide stuff like cash, hidden treasure maps, and plans to my secret Death Star in them. . . I can rig one to my garage door that when I lean one volume forward, my garage door starts to open. . . Aw man, the uses are endless!

Tripler
Seriously though, I'll take 'em if you're fairly closeby. I'm in Montana.

Iceland_Blue
02-08-2005, 07:20 AM
cough....eBay...cough

Anaamika
02-08-2005, 08:54 AM
::goggles::

Throw books away? You may as well sell me into slavery, cause that's what it's like!

Missy2U
02-08-2005, 10:35 AM
Have you considered calling a women's shelter where they take in abused women and their children and asking them if they could use them?

BrotherCadfael
02-08-2005, 10:53 AM
As a kid, I spent many happy hours reading the encylopeia. I'd pick up volume at random, open it at random, and start reading. It made me a killer Jepardy player, but the other kids did look at me kind of funny...

Anaamika
02-08-2005, 10:58 AM
As a kid, I spent many happy hours reading the encylopeia. I'd pick up volume at random, open it at random, and start reading. It made me a killer Jepardy player, but the other kids did look at me kind of funny...

I did this, too, and I imagine quite a few Dopers did.

I got made fun of a lot. :mad: For being smart!

Duke of Rat
02-08-2005, 11:06 AM
Keep them as a time capsule. Your grandkids can open them up and marvel at how things used to be. I have an old "Lincoln Library", sort of a one volume encyclopedia from the 30's, and it's fun to "go back in time" now and then.

trupa
02-08-2005, 11:06 AM
This is really making me want to get a not to old used set for trupa Junior. You can't lounge on the couch reading a computer while munching oreos on a rainy saturday afternoon, like you can with a ramdomly selected volume of the encyclopedia.

I bet I can get one not too expensive now...

-trupa
ps: yes, yes, me too... I used to read them for entertainment as a kid, and got thouroughly ostracised as a result. Seems like a doper rite of passage, doesn't it?

Polycarp
02-08-2005, 11:23 AM
Here's a suggestion:

Contact your local school district. Ask for names of middle or upper elementary school teachers with gifted students who are from lower-income families. Contact teacher; establish contact with family through teacher; offer encyclopedias to kid. Probably 75-85% of the content of the typical 20-year-old encyclopedia is still accurate, and the kid, hungry for knowledge, will love having his own set.

phouka
02-08-2005, 11:32 AM
There are many charities out there that would love to take any old reference books off your hands. They ship them overseas to impoverished countries or countries with impoverished schools. The books provide the students with reference material and English language material to practice. I believe South Africa is one of the targets, as they have many schools for black African students that are still woefully underfunded.

Musicat
02-08-2005, 11:59 AM
Personally, I woudn't throw it out, as it will get more interesting as it ages. Right now, it is too new to be old, and too old to be new. Hope you are young, or have kids, or they have kids who can eventually appreciate it.

On the other hand, in 20 years the same set may be available on a CD anyway, and take up less space. No point in saving Natl Geographics now, for this reason.

I wouldn't part with my 1950's Comptons for any price, but luckily I have the space. And somewhere in the basement I think I have a 2-volume Encyclopedia ca. 1900 -- boy is it fascinating to look through! Only 8 planets in the solar system.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
02-08-2005, 12:08 PM
With gule, nails, hardwaqre & a little ingenuity, you can convert them into fun & funky end tables.

Black Train Song
02-08-2005, 12:09 PM
I have a set of Colliers, which my wife insisted I keep, from 1967. Then it looks as though each year they put out a yearbook as an addition to the set ending in 1979.

I wouldn't dream of throwing them out now. They're fun to brouse through once in awhile plus they happen to be the most attractive part of my bookcase.

Black Train Song
02-08-2005, 12:17 PM
I have a set of Colliers, which my wife insisted I keep, from 1967. Then it looks as though each year they put out a yearbook as an addition to the set ending in 1979.

I wouldn't dream of throwing them out now. They're fun to brouse through once in awhile plus they happen to be the most attractive part of my bookcase.


I have to add....I actually used the encyclopedias (size) as a measurement when built the bookshelves because I specifically wanted them to fit perfectly into the bookcase.

The other thing: I just opened the cover of one of the books to check the publishing date and found an old B&W 8x10 photograph of my wifes brother (I think) in action during a highschool football game. All those years it's been sitting in there.

Larry Griffin-Kentzel
02-08-2005, 01:00 PM
This thread is better suited for In My Humble Opinion (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/forumdisplay.php?f=12).

I'll move it for you.

Cajun Man
for the SDMB

BarnOwl
02-08-2005, 01:20 PM
Thank you, thank you, thank you. (Sincerely)

I am keeping the set. I cannot bear to throw them out or give them away or tear them up to do other things with.

I am sorry I even vaguely considered anything like that.

BrotherCadfael
02-08-2005, 02:14 PM
Contact your local school district. Ask for names of middle or upper elementary school teachers with gifted students who are from lower-income families. Contact teacher; establish contact with family through teacher; offer encyclopedias to kid. Probably 75-85% of the content of the typical 20-year-old encyclopedia is still accurate, and the kid, hungry for knowledge, will love having his own set.I LOVE this idea. If you have to get rid of it, this is the best way -- I'm glad you are going to keep it.



Somehow, the idea of reading the encyclopedia for pleasure just doesn't seem translate to reading it online.

stpauler
02-08-2005, 02:52 PM
(I know the OP has decided to keep and not tamper with the encyclopedias.... but....)

How could would it be to turn 'em into ukuleles? (http://baymoon.com/~ukulelebooks/)

jayjay
02-08-2005, 03:10 PM
Heh. I spent many, many hours reading our World Book and Funk & Wagnall's sets (plus yearbooks and science annuals) in my childhood, teens and still whenever I get bored and have read everything on the bookshelf at least once. It's kind of fun to look at them like old friends; you KNOW what's in every single volume, but it's still cool to open them up and read the pages, knowing what's next, what's over here, oh wait! I don't remember that part...interesting...

Getting lost in an encyclopedia is fun! And yes, I got strange looks, too.

astro
02-08-2005, 03:23 PM
Encyclopedias make great bathroom books when you are in the commode mode. Short, interesting articles are the perfect complement to a job well done.

BarnOwl
02-08-2005, 03:26 PM
I LOVE this idea. If you have to get rid of it, this is the best way -- I'm glad you are going to keep it.



Somehow, the idea of reading the encyclopedia for pleasure just doesn't seem translate to reading it online.

I loved the suggestion, too. If I were to get rid of them, this is the route I'd take.

Just a minute ago, I learned that our neighbors have a 1932 set of encyclopedias of some kind. The wife wanted to toss 'em, the husband refused - adamantly.

I can see why.

BarnOwl
02-08-2005, 03:31 PM
BrotherCadfael (see previous post) and I were referring to Polycarp's recommendation in Post #27.

Sorry, but it wasn't duplicated when I quoted the Brother's post.

justwannano
02-08-2005, 04:27 PM
Just don't try to quote from them.
In a discussion a couple of years ago about weather glass was a liquid or solid I quoted from an old set rescued from the bookshelves at my grandmothers.
David B chastized me for it. :D

Hey tripler how far is it from Iowa to Montana?
I have 3 old sets.

koeeoaddi
02-08-2005, 04:44 PM
Here's a suggestion:

Contact your local school district. Ask for names of middle or upper elementary school teachers with gifted students who are from lower-income families. Contact teacher; establish contact with family through teacher; offer encyclopedias to kid. Probably 75-85% of the content of the typical 20-year-old encyclopedia is still accurate, and the kid, hungry for knowledge, will love having his own set.
You know, I tried exactly that, but my local school district rejected the gift of a perfectly functioning, but somewhat obsolete Macintosh and felt that it would be unfair to offer it to any particular student. Maybe the OP will have better luck than I did, but I am pessimistic. I wound up giving it to a family member instead.

Tripler
02-08-2005, 06:21 PM
Hey tripler how far is it from Iowa to Montana?
I have 3 old sets.

Um, I could do that in two days. But it'll be awhile before I get down that way. . . maybe a few months.

Now if they were 1920s-style Death Encyclopedias, I'd be all over that tomorrow. :D

Tripler
Okay, on rereading that joke, it was funny the first time around. :smack: .

BiblioCat
02-08-2005, 06:34 PM
I still have the set my parents bought back in the early sixties, a World Book set, plus a set of Year Books covering from 1966 to 1978. My own kids (ages 16 and 8) have used them at various times for basic stuff.
Yeah, nothing beats Google these days, but for simple things, it's really easy to grab the appropriate book and quickly find a fact.

I was also an enclyopedia-reader as a kid. I can remember sitting on the basement steps and paging through them, reading various bits.

Tripler
02-08-2005, 06:43 PM
I still have the set my parents bought back in the early sixties, a World Book set, plus a set of Year Books covering from 1966 to 1978.

Oh. My. God. . .

What are the chances. You and I must be siblings. :eek: Are they on a shelf in the basement/cellar?

Have you ever read them and just smell the pro-U.S./anti-Soviet propaganda in them? Aw man, it's as thick as the fog in San Francisco. . .

Tripler
Heck, maybe that's where I got my brainwashing as a kid by reading them.

BiblioCat
02-08-2005, 07:39 PM
Oh. My. God. . .

What are the chances. You and I must be siblings. :eek: Are they on a shelf in the basement/cellar?:D When I was a kid, they were on a shelf at the bottom of the basement steps. We had these great floor-to-ceiling shelves all along one wall, and whenever I was bored, or just wanted something to read, I'd sit on the bottom step (with my back against the wall and my legs across the step) and read. In the summer, it was always nice and cool down in the basement.
Now that I have them, they're on a shelf in the den.

Have you ever read them and just smell the pro-U.S./anti-Soviet propaganda in them?Actually, we lived in a flood plain and the basement flooded whenever there was a hurricane or heavy rains. All you could smell was 'damp.' ;)
They still smell rather musty, but I just can't bring myself to throw them away.

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