Allen Dew of Granville County, along with the Granville County Genealogical Society, recently donated more than 350 books to the Richard H. Thornton Library in Oxford. The books, which are no longer in print, will be added to an extensive collection in the North Carolina Room, a section of the library devoted to state and local history that is well-known for its genealogical records.
Dew had learned of the closure of an out-of-state private library and inquired about the fate of the books that were housed there. With no local interest, Dew was told the books would be discarded. After asking if he could have them, dozens of boxes were later delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Upon arrival, however, Dew noted that the books had been disassembled, with the spines detached. With donation of the books as his intent, Dew was able to negotiate a fair price with a professional rebinding company to restore the books to library standards.
Despite delays resulting from COVID-19 and the temporary closure of the bindery, the book rebinding project was completed, with the books being donated to the library on July 28. Dew estimates the value of each book to be approximately $25 each, with a total cost of more than $8,750, had the books not been acquired through a donation.
“The subject matter in these books covers historical records for Granville County and dozens of other counties surrounding Granville,” Dew said. “Genealogy and history researchers may now search for their ancestors in these books, which are not available in other libraries or on the internet.”
Dew estimates that more than 1,000 books have been donated to the Richard H. Thornton Library in the past three years, due to finds through private collections and library closures.
The collection will be made available to the public in coming weeks. The Granville County Library System is now operating on a limited schedule, Monday through Friday. Contact the Library at 919-693-1121 for hours and for patron guidelines.