With thousands of used books for every age group and from every subject, genre and time period, readers will have no problem finding plenty of reading material at this fall’s Friends of the Stillwater Public Library book sale taking place Sept. 27-30. Shoppers may, however, have trouble limiting how much they purchase, especially considering the low prices.
According to Saundra Mace, Friends of the Library (FOL) board member and book sorter, pricing at the book sale is consistently one of its most popular aspects.
“We have made a conscious decision to keep prices low,” she said. “We do want to raise as much money as possible for the library. At the same time, we want families to be able to afford to keep books in their homes.”
Families can pick up children’s material for just 25¢ a book. Paperbacks and audio visual items are priced at 50¢, while hardbacks are $1. Book sale purchases are also tax free.
FOL members have spent the past five months sorting and culling hundreds of titles a day in preparation for the sale.
According to Mace, these months of work and some tweaks to their sales strategy has made a noticeable difference at the book sales.
“Over the last several book sales, we have raised our standards on what we put in the sale,” she said. “The books are cleaner and an overall better quality. We also made sure the books are up on the tables and off the floors. We’ve seen a positive response from shoppers. More books are being sold and more money is being raised for the library.”
The money from the spring and fall book sales all goes back into the library to fund material, equipment and services that the library could not otherwise afford. Some of those projects include the children’s summer reading program, year round programming and sound and computer equipment for the meeting room facilities.
Mace has been active in the book sales since the early 2000’s when her love of the library and encouragement of friends drove her to sign up with FOL. She soon began devoting time each week to categorize and prepare the books for the sale.
Although the hours she puts in during the sale and throughout the year in preparing for the sale are numerous, it is work she loves.
“I do this work because reading is important,” she said. “Especially when we can get these books into the hands of kids.”
Seeing the delight of children at the book sales is especially meaningful to Mace.
“I love seeing the kids’ reaction to the all of the books,” she said. “You can feel their excitement as they explore box after box of books. But then they find that book. The one they were meant to have. You’ll see them sitting under the tables, pouring through their book amid all the hustle and bustle of the sale.
“There’s just something magical about those sales.”
The book sale begins Thursday, Sept. 27, when Friends of the Library members can enjoy pre-sale shopping from 5 to 8 p.m. Shoppers who purchased a membership for the April sale are also eligible to attend this sale.
Anyone without a membership may pay $10 at the door. The annual membership provides advanced entrance to both the spring and fall sales. Preview shoppers are limited to a total of 100 items, including 50 children’s items.
On Friday, Sept. 28, from noon to 8 p.m., the sale opens to the general public and continues on Saturday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
On Sunday, Sept. 30, from 1:30-4 p.m., shoppers can take choice of books for $1 per bag. Bags are provided and there is no limit to the number of bags shoppers can purchase.
Donations of items for the Friends’ sale are accepted all year long during the library’s business hours. Donations should be brought directly to the Stillwater Public Library. Carts are available and staff can assist as needed. Donation receipts can also be requested.