A long-time English professor has given away most of the books he collected after teaching for 50 years at St. Thomas University in Fredericton.

Russ Hunt note to students

In one month, long-time English professor Russ Hunt has given away most of his books collected over 50 years of teaching. (CBC)

Russ Hunt, 73, has been on contract with the university ever since he was forced to retire at the age of 65.

But his contract ended abruptly and he had to figure out what to do with the thousands of books he had accumulated over the years.

He told his colleagues he wanted to give the books away.

And in one month, he has a scant few left.

"The books have melted," said Hunt.

"Students have taken lots of books. In many cases, books that I'd assume that no one — not just a student, but that no one — would ever want."

Having so many books, is an occupational hazard, said Hunt.

"If you ask any professor, especially I think any English professor, what you'll get is an answer that says something like, 'Well, I really didn't have any choice.'"

Josh Riley - custom

St. Thomas University English student Josh Riley was happy to take some of the books. (CBC)

Josh Riley, an English student with a long list of course texts, says he's happy to adopt a few.

"Once you're finished reading a book, maybe you should allow for other people to gain the same knowledge that you have," he said.

And that's the legacy Hunt wants to leave behind — students with an appetite for knowledge and the tools to get it.

"I want people to be able to say 20 years from now that they understand something that they didn't understand before. But not that, 'Oh, I learned it from Russ Hunt,'" he said.

Hunt isn’t leaving the literary life behind, however. He says he will be working on a book of his own in his retirement.