97-year-old Kansas man finds satisfaction and health fixing books at his local library

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Library books get a lot of use but that doesn’t mean they have to be thrown away when they get damaged.

One man at a Kansas library keeps those books looking new and he’s 97-years-old.

Grant Poole is the library’s master book mender. 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,” Poole said. “But I've never found a book that I couldn't mend. Maybe they throw those out, I don't know."

He started volunteering at the library 37-years-ago and after doing a variety of different jobs, he was given the task to take over mending the books.
While it took him some time to learn, it’s certainly become a skill he’s known for.

“He’s learned a real skill to mend books and to help repair items in the collection that become worn through use, Linda Knupp, of the Manhattan Public Library said. “So he’s really extended the life of many materials in this collection.”

He said volunteering at the library not only gives him something to do, 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.”

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

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

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

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

Poole’s skills also make him popular around the neighborhood. He said several people have asked him if he can repair their books.

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