Nothing makes me happier than a pre-loved book, except of course a Friends of the Library Book Sale wherein I find these wonderful pre-loved books. And I was fortunate enough to go to the ‘Friends of the Library Old Book Sale’ in Macon, Georgia.
I’m quite biased as I love books and public libraries and to me there is nothing better nor more comforting than to have a book nestled in your hands. I believe public libraries and the book sales the friends of these libraries hold are wonderful, essential, irreplaceable and for me completely irresistible resources in any community. And as I always say ‘don’t just like your library on facebook or twitter, get in there and actually love your library’.
Now most, if not all of the book sales by ‘friends of libraries’ are run solely by volunteers. Another wonderful resource and the back bone of any community and this book sale was no different – an eclectic mix of happy, inspiring, hardworking, amazing volunteers.
Books at these sales are generally not on the latest best seller list, nor are they the hottest, nor are they the most popular and most of the books are not the sort you will find in a chain book store. These are unique, often out of print, beautiful, different and sometimes quirky books. So if you are a true book lover then this is one of the best places to be and shop. Google your local (and not so local) ‘friends of the library events’ and go to one of these book sales. I can guarantee from experience you will love it and you will absolutely find something to take home and treasure. Another bonus with these types of books sales is that you get the opportunity to recycle. Donate your ‘gently used’ books to these organisations and everyone benefits. Giving makes a big difference in the lives of many.
Book sales by friends are fundraising events and this extravaganza for doing so was very, very impressive. Books, books, books by the thousands….actually over 150,000 to be precise and about 75 different categories were displayed. The book sale also ran over four days and was held in an area about the size of a football field. And the most amazing thing of all (to me at least), the books – all of them – were individually hand priced! Honestly, I don’t know how they did it. I am used to ‘friends’ book sales in Australia wherein you fill a green bag for usually around $10-12. An absolute bargain would you not agree! At this book sale I was a little unprepared as I had my little green bags and cash……although perhaps not quite enough of it. Anyway, I did end up dipping into the grocery money because there were a couple of books I just could not leave behind. When quizzed by my husband as to why we weren’t having the buttermilk marinated fried chicken for dinner (as I had said, okay promised I was making) I replied “I truly believe these books will feed us more”. He had no come back and was happy to eat the left over chasseur as he flicked through a 1960 print of ‘A Field Guide to the Birds – all Species found east of the Rockies’ (and chasseur always tastes so much better re-heated a day or two later).
What was also great about this particular book sale was the, with almost military precision, at which it was run. Oh and something I have never seen in a book sale in Australia – security and the representatives from the local sheriffs (police) office. Sadly or more oddly, some people can go a little over the top at events such as this. They line up early. Really, really early and the lines will become very long and very very deep with people then once the doors open the, what I refer to as the book run, is on and its pretty much every man for himself. Apart from the running there is jostling, there is pushing and there is the occasional harsh word exchanged. Can fisty cuffs break out….oh absolutely!
Very happy and friendly law enforcement and given everyone was on their best behaviour they also enjoyed the day
I had a prior commitment on the day of this book sale so I was unable witness the book run. And I know, some of you are shocked I was not there earlier however I was training……which is probably even more shocking. Now those that know me know I am not an exercising sort of person. My exercise has always been of the unconscious form – getting around on the old foot falcon (which means walking pretty much everywhere) when living in Australia and gardening. Therein I’m no gym bunny and frankly, if I am running it is probably because something is chasing me, however at just over 50 I am getting ready for a mud marathon, hence the reason I was late in getting to the sale. Anyway, back to the most important topic….books!
When I did finally arrive, which was around noon, hundreds of people had already passed through the doors. As I walked up to the venue (on mercury heels) I saw people leaving with shopping trolleys, suitcases, boxes and personal shopping carts full of books. That is correct! They had shopping trolleys full of books and the check out line was still quite long. And here is where the military precision kicks in once again: although the check out line can snake quite a way through the venue it doesn’t last long given how organised the sale is. Several volunteers man the check-out and they are in pairs: one handles the books and reads out the marked price and the other adds up on an adding machine. Quick, simple and very effective. And there is also a book sitting service and an information section, once again manned by volunteers. Just fab!
Please form an orderly line
The choices are endless and there are quirky little sections
As hard as it is to believe these shopping trolleys full of books are not mine. I promise! I was however, definitely suffering trolley envy as my haul was very modest in comparison.
What a great team: one person reads out the book price and the other adds it up (with very speedy fingers).
Book sale floor plan – handed out as you enter the building
The check out line and the volunteer check out teams
More volunteers on the floor replenishing book stocks and keeping it all orderly
What a wonderful way to spend a winters day in Georgia. Have I pencilled in the old book sale for 2015…..ABSOLUTELY! Just try and keep me away xx
Footnote: I’m a member of FOGL (Friends of the Gawler Library – South Australia) and I loved the books sales in which I was involved during my time in Gawler. Thank you to the wonderful staff at the Gawler and Evanston Gardens libraries and to all FOGL members – an incredible group of inspiring, energetic and hardworking volunteers. Your kindness, acceptance and friendship during my time there is never forgotten x