After several incarnations in town, the Rogue Valley Metaphysical Library reopens this week, variously selling, renting and gifting books of higher learning, with its axis in consciousness, environment, self-development and positive social change.
The nonprofit store is now located between Albertson’s and Rite-Aid at 2321 Ashland St., behind Submarine Sandwich. It is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, starting Thursday.
Unlike any normal bookstore since its creation in 2002, RVML has dedicated itself to “provide easy access to information that inspires, heals and transforms peoples’ lives and perspectives,” says RVML founder and director Jordan Pease.
“It’s a used book store with no cash register,” says library manager Chris Stewart, noting that its offerings leap beyond the bounds of “metaphysical” and, adds Pease, the words “New Age” are decidedly banned in the store.
“Our metaphysics is practical,” he says, “and we try to circumvent politics and heal the divisiveness of our society now. We’re not trying to help people get in the squabble. We’re trying to help find the common ground. We’re trying to build community. We have a lot of books people are not going to find anywhere else, a lot of rare materials.”
A scan of shelf topics gives you the feel of many tomes that break the boundaries of higher awareness — relationship skills, parenting, social problems, climate change, GMO foods, astronomy, earth science, Buddhism, Hindu, Native American spirituality, narcissism, women’s health, alternative medicine, media studies. They even have books on Harry Truman and the JFK assassination. You won’t find romance or Western novels.
Earlier in this century, the library was much simpler: bring in books, take books away free, then the store would pay the bills by selling valuable books online.
The “media exchange” survives. It’s a small part of the library. You take books and DVDs. You donate two-for-one, ideally. When you are through, you bring the books back and donate them, on the honor system, no records kept. Or you can keep the book. These books can be on any subject, but are not genre pap.
To use the main, much larger Metaphysical Lending Library, you donate $30 a year for one or two people. You can borrow four items at a time for up to 14 days (tax deductible), then return them. The shop continues selling valuable books on the internet, helping, along with grants and donations, to pay the rent.
Amazingly, each of their 12,000 books, CDs and DVDs is tallied on their website and changed daily. None has a listed price. He has an immense CD library of conferences of higher or esoteric thought, including 793 lectures of the International UFO Congress, the only complete one in the world.
“We survive on the good will and generosity of the local community,” says Pease. “What is metaphysics? It’s like we give fishing lessons instead of giving a fish for one day.”
Pease, who produces the Architects of the New Paradigm conferences, says he’s definitely not in the RVML to get rich, but it’s a labor of love.
“It’s a calling, to serve a mission. We have lots of volunteers and the community appreciates it so much. We are not getting rich, believe me. You get access to a huge amount of material and it’s good for the environment because no books are getting printed or disposed of.”
RVML has its reopening celebration today at 4 p.m. with a Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony. RVML’s library and media exchange reopens to the public at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 28.
— John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at email@example.com.