Hello ! I am Ravi Desai from India. I love reading books and today I want to share my story which is related to a book.
Some books and authors catch your attention by sheer luck and when you finish the book, you feel like losing a friend.
Here is the book “Twelve Secrets of Caucasus" by Essad Bey which was lying there since 1991(my birth year??) in a bookshelf at my local library. ( M J Library , Ahmedabad , India)
I was destined to come across this book in year 2018.
While i was reading it i travelled through mountains of Caucasian region with the Author in my imagination.
Such a nice journey it was.
The author Essad Bey himself is a mysterious personality. Search about him on Wikipedia and you will see what i want to convey here.
Now the sad part of the story, as i returned this book at library, the clerk at the counter told me that now this book won’t be issued anymore as it was in very bad condition.
They will sell out books like this to person who buys and sells old books. So where this book will Exactly goes no one can know.
For them this book doesn’t seem to have any value. it was not in that much bad condition that it should go directly to some vendor, it could have been preserved and given new life by proper way.
Their purpose nowadays is to remove old books and fill the shelf with new books which most of the times are popular fiction books.
I am not against new books but i am worried about what would happen if there were no more books like this by some forgotten authors at library.
This Essad Bey was unknown to me till now..but now i know something about his stories.
But readers of my generation who live in my city Ahmedabad won’t have any chance encounter with him like me. They won’t be able to know “Who was Essad Bey??"
And ironically there is a song which raises the same question but in another light.
Here it is
But the story does not end here....
After this incident at library I was very sad about this book.
Then one day I was talking with my friend from Tbilisi about this book. She is a bookshop owner herself and knows the value of a rare book like this.
She told me that this book was a treasure for her country. As this was the first edition of the book and nowadays very few first editions of this book are there.
So this copy of the book could be a valuable treasure for Georgia and it could be kept in a museum for display.
I was very much excited about this book and its importance to Georgia. So I thought it would be a great thing if my library gave this book as a gift to some Georgian museum.
It would become a moment of cultural exchange between two countries.
So immediately I went to my local library to ask for the whereabouts of that rare book.
After reaching my library, I immediately searched in library catalog for the book and I saw that the book was “withdrawn"
This was the second time when I felt disappointment at my library. They had already given “withdrawn" books to a local waste-paper dealer.
With some hope I contacted that waste-paper dealer and asked him if he still had that book with him.
But again there was a painful answer I got from him. That waste-paper dealer had also sent this container of the “withdrawn" books to a paper mill where they grind the old papers and start recycling it.
Thus my library lost an opportunity to preserve a very valuable book for Sakartvelo ( Georgia ).
With that book we also lost the valuable moment of making cultural exchange with this beautiful country in Caucasus.
Now it is no point in sulking over what has already been lost by careless attitude of my local library staff. I just want to say that libraries are not just bookshelves and old books; they are in fact a treasure house where they keep valuable record of history. Once the record is lost , our ties with the valuable past are broken.
So we must keep the record safe and therefore we must preserve our libraries and the valuable books in them.
Then one day I saw this Khashuri Municipality Library facebook page and I saw their different cultural activities, I was amazed by how enthusiastically they are trying to spread awareness about reading and literature among young minds of Georgia.
I told them my story and they encouraged me to put this story in a blog format.
So I am very grateful to them for inspiring me to create this article.