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Man donates 13,000 books to Sacramento library group

A Sacramento man has donated 13,000 books to the Friends of the Arden-Dimick Library, the largest donation the organization has ever received and one that includes works spanning topics from the Civil War to women’s studies.

Frank Rose, 85, spent decades amassing the collection, which he stored in two apartments in the building he manages. Library volunteers this week began packing the books – 500 boxes worth – to move to a storage space provided by Hines, a real estate firm, in preparation for sale. Rose also threw in steel bookcases.

“We take daily donations, but nothing on the scale of Mr. Rose’s,” said Margaret Clausen, a board member who oversees book sales for the Friends of the Arden-Dimick Library. The library is at 891 Watt Ave.

Clausen originally saw Rose’s collection two years ago when he contacted the organization with plans to donate his books after his death. She wished him well and hoped that receiving the books would be years away.

“And we’re glad he didn’t have to die to give it to us,” Clausen said.

Rose, a retiree of the state’s unemployment department, ramped up his book purchases some years ago to read during retirement. But he admits that he has only read a few from his expansive collection.

Rose, the manager of Villa Rose Apartments in the 2300 block of Villanova Circle, filled up two apartments above his own with the collection. He originally lived upstairs, but moved down because of his physical difficulty with balance. He decided to donate the books now so that he can rent out the upstairs apartments that were used to store his collection.

Rose doesn’t know how much he spent on his collection and he said he can’t name which book he liked most.

“They were all favorites,” said Rose, who said he did not keep a single book for himself and made the donation since as a bachelor he has few relatives.

A man of few words, Rose watched from his apartment door as men wheeled by boxes of his collection.

The books are at 300 Capitol Mall, where Hines is donating storage space large enough to fit six or seven cars, Clausen said.

It took multiple trips Monday to move the books because of their weight, she said.

“I’m actually surprised the floor held up that weight,” Clausen said.

Next week, volunteers will sort through the collection for any hidden gems. On a hunch, Clausen recently pulled two books, “Verve, Revue Artistique et Littéraire” and “Dessins pour la Bible” by Marc Chagall, from boxes dropped on the library’s doorstep.

Last week, the pair fetched $6,000 for the library at a San Francisco auction, she said.

“From day to day, you never know what you’re going to find,” Clausen said.

Some of Rose’s collection could be sold on Amazon.com. Remaining books will likely be available at the Oct. 31 community book sale.

When Clausen told Rose about the sale, she said he replied, “ ‘If I were a young man, I would come buy them all over again.’ ”

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