Having a sale seemed almost redundant to me since the bookstore run by the Friends seems to offer sale prices all year long.
What we don’t see, I learned, are the dozens of boxes of used books collected over time that have been deemed too beat up to be salable in the store but not when packaged with similar derelicts and sold wholesale.
You can fill a lot of long flights with good reading found in a single packet of well-thumbed books to be offered at the sale. Cheap.
I learned that the Friends are a separate entity from the library and are permitted to operate in library space because of the nature and amount of financial help it brings to the library.
All of the workers in the book store — including Friends President Martin Flink, a retired insurance executive — are volunteers, and every dime that comes in through the sale of books moves right along to fund needs of the library. It’s all profit and not taxable.
When you donate a box of books to the Friends, it is sorted into four piles: new books to be priced, old books still in salable condition, books that the library would like to put into circulation, and books to be boxed until the next sale.
If you’re wondering about the books offered for a dollar on shelves outside the book store door, despite their glossy appearance, they are all over the seven-year mark that identifies an “old” book that doesn’t have to be individually priced.
Sometimes, books come in with more than their reading value. Autographs fall in this category, with Ronald Reagan signatures the most sought, and Richard Nixon second, not too surprising given the political bent in these parts.
One such oddity that appeared recently from an unknown donor was a pile of 35 books expensively mounted and consisting entirely of 1,200 blow-ups of frames from the John Wayne opus “Stagecoach.” I got one you can buy cheap.