Published in the Rains County Leader on Thursday, October 21, 2021:
The Friends of Rains County Public Library held their semi-annual Book Sale last Friday and Saturday. Publicity Coordinator Marsha Rakestraw had labeled the sale as an “event,” and her prediction proved to be true.
The book sorting team had warned that, because of the generous donations in recent weeks, some boxes might arrive at the City Centre unsorted. However, volunteers worked extra hours, and all inventory was broken down by fiction, non-fiction, children’s, and religion when the Road and Bridge Crew delivered several loads to the Centre Tuesday morning.
More volunteers made quick work of arranging tables, and unboxing and further sorting the contents into more specific categories.So much was accomplished so quickly that we knocked off at 1:00 pm on Tuesday. We began again on Wednesday morning, completing the finer sorting and adding genre and pricing signs throughout the room. Shopping bags were set out, and the check-out area was arranged. By shortly after noon, we were almost ready with only a few last-minute tweaks left for Thursday morning.
The sale was scheduled to open at 9:00 am on Friday, but when I arrived a little after 8:00 to open the doors, a customer was waiting in the parking lot. I invited him to come on in and browse with the caveat that he would have to wait until the cashier arrived to actually buy anything. By the time we officially opened, the Book Sale Event was in full swing as eight or ten book lovers stacked books to take home. Customer traffic was brisk all day except for a mid-day slow down for lunch and naps.
One disappointment was the story time events we had scheduled every hour throughout both days including Master Story Teller Richard Nash. Unfortunately, when the times came, there were often no children. Several readers had two or three listeners, but others went home without reading.
On Saturday, however, another event brought traffic for our story times as well. Sadie’s Place Rescue and New Favorite Day Dog Rescue set up just outside the front doors. The rescue dogs in pens or on leashes were a natural draw for families with children. From time to time we would take a walk around asking children, with the permission of their parents, if they’d like to hear a story. Like a Pied Piper of Books, we’d lead a small entourage to our story corner. On the way, we’d grab one of our readers who was also working the sale and story time would happen. Next year instead of setting the times and hoping the children come, we’ll have readers at the ready and gather the children when they show up.
I enjoyed the animals as much as the children. On one of my pet and scratch breaks, I had the opportunity to renew my acquaintance with Dobby, the stray who was visiting with Spike the last time we stayed with him. I’m not sure Dobby remembered me, but he has calmed a lot and is loving and responsive to anyone who will pay attention to him.
My favorite story of the sale, though, involves comic books. We never know what we’ll find when we open boxes of donated books. In April we had two hardbound sets of Louis L’Amour books. This year it was two boxes of comics from the 1970s and 1980s. There were Superman and Star Trek comics among others, some in plastic sleeves and others loose. We had no idea if they were valuable or not and had no idea if anyone would be interested. And then Red and Lori Lewis came in.
David and I met Red when his son and daughter-in-law moved in next door to us, and we met Lori shortly after that when they began attending Believers’ Baptist. I had no idea he was a comic book fan, but he zeroed in on those two boxes as if a tracker beam drew him in. Lori finished her shopping, but he still picked through the books with excitement. He asked about individual pricing and then box prices, and we finally offered him both boxes for $30. Keep in mind that we sell any leftover books to a used book store for around $1.50 per box, so this was a good deal for us. And it was a great deal for Red. The look on his face was like a kid at Christmas, and we talked about how much fun that sale was long after he left with his prize.
The Book Sale is a great event, but it takes a lot of work. When it ends at 2:00 pm on Saturday, we’re all exhausted, and clean-up is a daunting task. I’d like to end this column by sharing an email I sent to the Friends of the Library Saturday night:
Thank you to the large group of amazing volunteers who showed up this afternoon to break down the FOL Book Sale Event and clean up the Emory City Centre. Preparations for the break down began shortly after 1:00 pm, and by 2:45 we had packed 111 boxes of books, wiped down and put away all the display tables, staged the leftover books and equipment to be picked up and delivered to various destinations, and cleaned the Centre. I was home with my feet up by shortly after 3:00 pm!
Thank you, also, to our amazing community that donated more books in 6 months than we had in the April sale and then purchased more books than were purchased at the previous sale. The FOL loves books, loves people who love books, and loves our Rains County Library. Thank you for helping us support it.
Let’s do it again in April!