Susan Johnson of Bayfield makes it a point to visit the Durango Book Rescue the first Sunday of each month, looking for a discarded treasure for herself or others, and she can’t beat the price – all books are free.
“I look for children’s books that I give to teachers I know,” Johnson said. “There’s a whole plethora of books to choose from, and I look for books for everyone.”
Johnson braved Sunday’s snowstorm to peruse the shelves at Durango Book Rescue, located behind Eolus and Duranglers. She was joined by a score of others hoping to get a first glimpse at what was available.
Scott Rahilly estimates he gives away 1,000 books each first Sunday of the month at the Durango Book Rescue, which opens its storage unit at Durango Security Storage, 923 Narrow Gauge Ave., from noon to 4 p.m. for the event.
“It’s actually hard giving away free books,” Rahilly said.
Rahilly, a bibliophile, hates to toss a book, and the rationale for giving away books is the constant supply he taps into from the La Plata County Humane Society and his brother, Denny Rahilly, who runs Second Story Used Books in Durango.
He needs to turnover 1,000 books a month just to make room for the next load of books he’ll receive from the Humane Society and his brother.
Besides books given away the first Sunday of the month, Rahilly also has several free shelves located around town. One is at Florida Laundry, 1449 Florida Road, another is in an office above Carver Brewing Co., and two are at Fort Lewis College, one in the Fishbowl outside the Reed Library and one in Noble Hall.
Rahilly said he is always looking for new locations to create a free book shelf. He thinks they would be perfect for doctors’ or dentists’ waiting rooms.
Rahilly said anyone who would like to add a free book shelf to their business can reach him at email@example.com.
About five years ago, Rahilly started his nonprofit to give away books when he found out La Plata County Humane Service disposed of books that weren’t selling.
His brother’s used book business provided another rich supply. Durango Book Rescue regulars also often bring a box of books to donate and refill the box with new books on the first Sunday.
“It’s become like a community event,” Rahilly said of his first-Sunday book give aways. “I’ve met some great people. You see the regulars every month. If I wasn’t already doing this, I’d be here, too. It’s a testimony to this community that there’s such an inventory of great books we can give away.”
Jim Shadell of Durango was looking for travel, nature and educational books on Sunday.
He was particularly excited to find an old intermediate Spanish textbook – he’s working to brush up his Spanish skills.
“I wish my wife were here,” Shadell said. “She loves books.”