Meet the man behind the books: 97-year-old master book mender

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MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – When you walk into the Manhattan Public Library the first thing you probably notice is the books, but what many people don’t see is the man responsible for keeping these books in tip-top shape. 

At age 97, Grant Poole, the library’s master book mender, says it’s what keeps him in tip-top shape as well. 

Each book that comes to his desk represents a new challenge, some more difficult than others. 

“Some of them are really in bad shape and I have a little trouble with those, but I’ve never found a book that I couldn’t mend. Maybe they just throw those out, I don’t know,” Poole said.

He started volunteering at the library 37 years ago and after doing a variety of jobs, he was tasked with mending the books. 

While it took him some time to learn it’s certainly become a skill he’s well known for. 

Linda Knupp, the Director of the Manhattan Public Library noted the importance of Poole’s position at the library.

“It’s a real skill to mend books and help repair items in the collection that become worn through use, so he’s really extended the life of many materials in the collection,” Knupp said. 

He says volunteering at the library not only gives him something to do, but it helps keep him going. 

“I’m 97 years old and I can hardly walk, but I can get up here and sit down on this nice chair and I’m in good shape,” Poole said. 

To the staff, that’s almost more impressive than his mending skills. 

“He never misses a day, he was here over 523 hours last year alone, so that’s you know, a quarter-time position, and he is always on time, he’s always ready for the job,” Knupp said. 

For Grant, it’s become much more than just volunteering. 

“If I didn’t have this, I’d be in bad shape, I know.”

Grant doesn’t stop mending once he leaves the library though, he says neighbors found out about his skills and asked him to mend their books as well. 

If you or someone you know would like to volunteer at the Manhattan Public Library, visit their website here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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