25 April 2013

Have I outgrown the library book sale?

Yesterday I went to the Gaston County Public Library book sale for the first time about 10 years. I used to go to the book sale every year but stopped going when my husband ABM was going through his de-cluttering phase. He has never been much of a reader so it didn't make sense to him to have all these books in the house. So I went along with him, got rid of a lot of books, and stopped going to the book sale.

Then a couple weeks ago I decided to fire up the record player and listen to some of my vinyl LPs. In flipping through my collection, it occurred to me that most of my vinyl had come from one of the library's book sales. Years ago when they made the switch from vinyl to CDs, I swooped in and bought several of their Broadway cast albums. That same week I happened to notice a tweet from the library about the upcoming book sale. I started feeling that old excitement and decided to go. ABM dropped me off yesterday with $25 and a request for home improvement books.

First thing I realized is that after all these years, people are still standing in line for the book sale. For some reason I thought the interest would have died down. I should have remembered that most readers like to own books, not just borrow them. It was so crowded that patrons were helping each other find books. I was standing on one side of a table and heard a couple of pensioners mention that they were looking for Danielle Steele books, so I just pulled them out and handed them over. That was happening all over the room. Also, I saw people walking out with lots of cool books just as I was walking in. If I decide to go again next year, I need to get up early and stand in line!

Ultimately, I didn't see anything that jumped out at me, but I did buy a few items. I spent $9.75 and came away with 14 books, a single album, and a 4-album set. Most of those books were for my husband and kids. As for me, I'm wondering if my time for shopping at the book sale for myself has passed. I generally prefer novels, cookbooks, and needlework books published before 1970, and those types of books are harder to come by these days. When I do see them, they are priced significantly higher that $1 for a hardback. Most of the books I saw yesterday were published in the 1980s and 1990s. Since I grew up in that era, those books hold little attraction for me. Many of them were also titles that I know the library still has copies of, so it doesn't make sense to me to own them. I considered buying a few more classics, but our kids don't look to our bookshelf when they get bored the way I did when I was a kid. They go online and read manga or free e-books on sites like Wattpad.

Despite not finding what I want, I still recommend library book sales as a fun way to support your local library. If you live in my area (and you know who you are), you have until Saturday to hit up our local sale. They put out new books every morning so it is still worth it to go even if you missed the first day of the sale. Check it out and tell me what you got!

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