The tents are erected, the folding tables set up, ready to be stacked with books, and the Friends of the Guilford Free Library are hoping for nice weather as they prepare for the 31st annual Friends of Guilford Free Library Book and Bake Sale.
“More than 35,000 books including collector’s volumes, new fiction and non-fiction, children’s, cookery, poetry, art, classics, gardening, sports, self-help – 50 categories in all – will be on sale at low, low prices,” the Friends website announces.
“It’s very much a community event,” said Friends Member Jane Marshall. “Particularly so in that of the thousands of books we received, 99% of them, are from Guilford residents,” she added.
The sale takes place in many different places in and around the library. On the front lawn under two tents are fiction and audio visual material, in The Book Barn, children’s books are displayed, a Tent in the parking lot is reserved for non-fiction books and in The Meeting Room art, architecture, cookbooks and other special books will be displayed.
“We can raise as much as $40,000,” said Library Director Sandy Ruoff. “It’s a big deal because they collect books year round for this. The Friends are very particular about condition and dates and saleability.”
This is a far cry from the $500 generated from the first book sale in 1981. “You can see we’ve come a long way,” said Ruoff.
Books are dropped off at the library almost every day of the year. They are stored in a building directly next door to the Park Street location. Formerly the Guilford Center for Children, it is now referred to as The Book House.
About 100 Friends are involved with the weekend event. They cull, sort and categorize the books and work all weekend during the sale.
“It’s great that people continue to bring them to the library,” said Ruoff. She explained that the money the Friends raise from the book sale and their membership support goes toward programs and services the Library could not offer if only relying on town funding.
The largest bulk of the money goes towards purchasing additional books and materials. The remainder is split between daily programs for adults, teens and children including author visits, performers, science teachers, lecture series and art series, technology upgrades and new or additional library equipment.
“It’s nice to have a community effort that supports such a worthy cause,” said Marshall. She has been working on the sale about 15 years.
While many individuals attend the book sale to build their home library there are also dealers who attend hoping to “find the rare thing that everyone else has overlooked,” said Ruoff. “And sometimes they do!”
In addition to buying books, many look forward to coming to the sale because it is an annual, community event. “Even if you don’t buy anything you can still have fun,” said Ruoff.
On Saturday a recorder group will entertain the crowds and a bake sale will offer goodies baked by Friends members and townspeople. “It’s a very social event,” said Ruoff. “We’re right downtown which makes it nice.”
Any leftover books are sold to a wholesale company who resells them to countries around the world.
“If we didn’t have the Friends helping us, we would still have a library,” said Ruoff. “But the Friends help us make it an ‘A’ library because they contribute between 50,000 and 60,000 extra dollars a year to the library.”
IF YOU PLAN ON GOING:
WHERE: Guilford Free Library
67 Park Street
WHEN: Friday, September 28 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday, September 29 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. (Bake Sale)
Sunday, September 30 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. (All books half price)