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Stan Steiner, a.k.a. ‘The Bookman,’ is Selling His Lifetime Collection of Books

By: Anna Webb   Published 1:55 pm / May 8, 2018

Stan Steiner

Stan Steiner with his lifetime collection of more than 40,000 children’s books

Stan Steiner, a professor in the Department of Literacy, Language and Culture, knows so much about children’s literature that students dubbed him “The Bookman.”

Steiner is retiring from Boise State this year. He is donating his lifetime collection of children’s and young adult books — some 40,000 or more volumes — for a fundraiser sale. The sale will take place May 11-13 in the Simplot Ballroom at the Boise State Student Union Building. Hours are 5-9 p.m. on Friday, May 11; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, May 12; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 13 (free parking will be available in the Lincoln Garage).

Steiner started collecting books in the early 1970s. He kept collecting them throughout his years at Boise State. One lesson he taught the prospective teachers in his literacy classes was that the best way to get kids hooked on reading was to offer them lots of choice in reading materials. So Steiner always had a lot of books in his classes. His collection grew. It grew more through the decades as he wrote book reviews and sat on committees to choose award-winning books.

The last time Steiner owned a television was in 1978. He and his family read for entertainment as well as enlightenment. That caused the collection to grow more, to the point where books filled every room in his house, plus a storage unit.

Now, all of that will be on sale for what Steiner is calling “seriously discounted prices,” ranging from $1 to $10. Several of the books are signed by the author. Books in the sale will be organized by genre, everything from STEM, to historical fiction, to mystery and poetry, and more.

Steiner is still deciding where the proceeds from the sale will go. Some may support graduate level scholarships for teachers. Some may support a longstanding after-school program in the Department of Literacy.

The idea for the book sale came to him in the middle of the night. He realized, he said, “that this was a way to give back and get books into the hands of people who can use them.”

Steiner will donate close to 300 children’s and young adult books about the Holocaust to the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights. He is also looking for a home for his collection of more than 500 books on multicultural topics, hoping to keep the collection intact, if possible. Contact Steiner at stansteiner@boisestate.edu for more information.

Stan Steiner with his book collection.

Stan Steiner, pictured with more of his collection.