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Book Sale Bonus

Unusual items, some historic, hit Portage Library's donation bin LISA MACKINDER

Brian Powers

by

Arlene Norman wasn’t sure what to do with the breast pump.

It had been placed in the donation box for Friends of the Portage District Library, a nonprofit organization that helps the library with special projects and raises money through bimonthly used-book sales. Norman, co-chair of the Friends’ book sale, went back and forth on whether to try to sell it. “I thought, ‘What the heck!’ Let’s see what happens'.” She stuck a price sticker on it. And the breast pump’s fate? “It sold!” she says, chuckling.

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It isn’t the first unusual item the volunteer group has uncovered in its donation box. Most of the time they get books, audio CDs or other literary items to resell, but, as Norman notes, once in a while they discover something especially interesting among the donations. Ellen Yannie, co-chair of the Friends’ book sale, says she has discovered everything from airline tickets to vehicle registration tabs tucked inside books’ pages, but sometimes something even more remarkable falls out — such as the extremely aged letter that tumbled from a book’s pages last fall. Yannie took the letter to Steve Rossio, local historian and youth services associate at the Portage District Library.

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