Book Sale Banter


“Should we rent the marquee at the cinema or a lettered sign on a trailer?”
“Let’s compare prices.”
Later, after we checked, “The marquee is almost a hundred dollars for one week. The sign is half that and we can put it on a major route.” Easy choice.
Lori and Karen (no doubt with husbands) braved cold and rain one Saturday to set up the sign.
“How much change should we start with?’
“Lots of ones, some fives and tens, and plenty of quarters.”
Five rolls of quarters made my flimsy tote bag sag as I lugged the change from the bank to my car.
“We’ll start setting up tables on Thursday afternoon after we bring back the hundred boxes of books that we stored at the school.”
A year’s worth of donated books at our local library had accumulated, overflowing the closet our Friends of the Library group has allotted for storage.
“Then we’ll unload the books.”
The books, and the books, and the books, and more books. Library patrons had been filling the collection bin in the library’s entry since our last book sale a year ago. Weekly, the books were sorted by Friends of the Library volunteers into basic categories: hard cover, paperback, fiction, non-fiction, children’s, magazines, and audio-visual. Now we needed to be more specific with biographies, cookbooks, hobbies, romances, self-help, sports, religion, etc.
It’s not as easy as it may sound because there are many “crossover” books that could fit into more than one group. We soon saw that our miscellaneous stack grew dangerously high. More fine tuning was needed before the sale. After a few hours, the chaos of books took shape under the watchful grip of volunteers which included retired teachers, a few library workers, and others of us frequent library buffs who got the general gist.
Purchasers were already waiting, although I thought I arrived early for the “members only” preview sale the night before the actual public book sale. In that two hours, we took in two-thirds what we grossed for last year’s entire sale. The next day, business boomed again in spite of a rainy chill that persisted as patrons carried bags and boxes to their cars and volunteers kept coats on to stave off blasts of outside air.
After working with local Rotary members to pack the remaining books for their next sale at fair time, those of us who had been overwhelmed by the sea of books that poured over and under our display tables were just as overwhelmed by the bare, slightly littered carpet in the empty room that had bustled so intently for the past two days. We sighed with relief.
Former banker and treasurer for the Friends group, I headed for home to begin a night of counting and recounting our profits; our sale surpassed any we had seen.
Our president, a fairly new member in the group, stepped one last time from her van into rain and removed the sign she had made to advertise in front of the library. Three young kids and a helpful husband, who had been there for most of the sale, awaited her at home. Thanks, Lori Szabo, for your thoughtful concern, your gracious diplomacy, and your sincere dedication to our group.


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