Annual book sale raises money for foundation programs
FARMINGTON — Jenny Lee Ryan, the program coordinator for the Farmington Public Library, likens this week's annual library book sale to a treasure hunt — a literary treasure hunt.
"We have 800 boxes of books," she said of the inventory for the annual sale. "And we don't sort them."
That means buyers with a particular genre or author in mind should plan on devoting some time at the sale, which opens Saturday, Sept. 12, and concludes on Wednesday, Sept. 16. And if there's something special you're searching for, Ryan said it pays to be an early bird, as there is usually a line of shoppers gathered outside the library on the morning of the sale's first day.
The books included in the sale have been culled from the library's collection and donated by library patrons. Ryan said the library often buys several copies of the same book when it anticipates increased demand for that selection, such as those in the "Twilight" series, and then sells some of those extra copies a couple of years down the road when demand has declined.
Ryan said the donations from patrons take all forms but frequently come from people who are moving and don't want to go through the work and expense of moving books. Other donations come from patrons who are simply clearing room on their bookshelves for new material. She said the library staff goes through the donations first to make sure there aren't materials that would fit well in the facility's general collection.
Donations are received year-round, Ryan said, explaining that she guessed donations for next year's sale would start arriving on Sept. 21.
Prices for the materials included in the sale are designed to be extremely affordable. They start at $1 for hardcover books and 50 cents for paperbacks. Music CDs, DVDs and books on CD are all 50 cents. Ryan said at some point over the sale's five days, as the inventory begins to dwindle, those prices will be reduced in an effort to clear out the stock.
"But I can't tell you when, and I can't tell you how much," she said.
The entire supply of the library's out-of-date magazines and periodicals will be free for the taking, she said, noting that many local teachers take advantage of those freebies to supplement their classroom materials.
"Unlike many dentist's offices, we do update our (magazine) collection," she said, laughing.
The money raised from the sale goes to the Farmington Public Library Foundation, which supplies T-shirts for the library's summer reading programs and purchases art for the library, among other programs. The sale generated approximately $15,000 in 2012 and 2013 before raising more than $14,600 last year.
The annual sale attracts a loyal clientele, Ryan said.
"We see the same faces hauling boxes of books out every year," she said.
Even for those who may not be fond of reading, Ryan said the book sale is a great way to stock up on supplies for altered-art projects in which old books are effectively recycled into objects of art.
"We hope everybody comes out," she said.
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