The book room at Wamogo Middle/High School will need to be reorganized to make room for recent arrivals from sales in two very different locations: Greenwich, CT and Poughkeepsie, NY. Books purchased need to be integrated onto the shelves with their companion sets of titles.
The first infusion of texts came last weekend (June 8-10, 2012) with The Friends of the Byram Shubert Library book sale in Greenwich, CT.The layout for the Greenwich sale is very challenging. Like last year, there was little room to pass a fellow shopper at the non-fiction tables downstairs in the church basement, but there is less room at the fiction tables in the “garage” area back up at ground level. Books spill out into the driveway, and there are many packed tightly in boxes under the already overflowing tables. Sunday is the “fill a bag for $3.00” or “fill a box for $5.00” day, a sales pitch that almost guarantees there will be few books remaining at the close of sale on Sunday evening. The volunteer staff is very helpful and tries to compete for the negative floor space in order to straighten the tables. Titles were originally well organized for genre shopping: history, psychology, biography, sports, and cookbooks, but by the end of the day, a multitude of children’s books was spilling naughtily out of their contained space. One volunteer repeated the mantra that “every book will be sold”, and apparently this is true. At the conclusion of the sale, a recycling company arrives to take the unsold books for so much a pound. While the thought of some of the texts being used for scrap can be a bit disconcerting for a bibliophile, this wholesale purge of any remaining books assures that every year the used books will not be “leftovers” and shoppers can select from a fresh selection annually.
In one short hour, I left with five boxes filled with texts we use in the high school. There were many titles available that we have collected over the past two years, but our shelves are almost filled to overflowing, so I tried to be judicious in my choices. For example, The Life of Pi and The Memory Keeper’s Daughter are both assigned summer reading for the honors/Advanced Placement program, so having extra copies to distribute is helpful. Additionally, we are collecting texts for use in US History as well, and now have a class set of The Killer Angels. We have been able to keep up with the attrition rate for many of our titles, specifically The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. The creative cover suffers the most damage from my curious sophomores who like to trace the dog cut-out.
On the following Friday (6/15/2012) , school had only been officially over for an hour, when I turned west to the first day of the Friends of Poughkeepsie Public Library District in Duchess County, NY. I had never attended this sale, but the advertisement on Book Sale Finder promoted a “BIG sale of 150,000 books and media.” The sale was held in a large warehouse, and true to the advertisement, there were hundreds of rows upon rows of books on tables. The books were well organized, and there was ample SPACE to shop for books; shopping cart races could be held in the aisles. There were some drawbacks to this location, however. The lighting system emitted a loud buzz that was particularly maddening in the large echoing warehouse; 45 minutes was all I could take of the sound before heading to the cashier’s table. Unlike the Greenwich Library book sale which purges unwanted texts, the Friends of the Poughkeepsie Library appear to have kept every book ever donated. The boxes clearly labelled “fiction”, “sports”, etc. under each table identified the resting area for texts the other 51 weekends of the year. This commitment to find a home for every text, no matter the condition or the content, means a shopper must look peruse through piles of yellowing, damaged books in the hopes of finding a particular title. No matter, I filled three bags of books at the usual price of $1.00 trade, $2.00 hardcover, and $.50 for smaller paperbacks. On Sunday, prices are cut in half; on Monday, one can fill a grocery bag for $5.00; and Tuesday, from 8A.M. to 12 Noon, leftovers are free for the taking. In looking at the selection on the “classics” table, I determined that Poughkeepsie area schools must also assign To Kill a Mockingbird; there were five new copies available. The best title “finds” on the tables were In Country by Bobbie Ann Mason for the grade 11 Vietnam War unit and Perfume by David Susskind for a new English IV course being offered this coming fall titled “Heroes and Monsters”. Apparently, the Duchess County area clearly went through its William Kennedy phase, favoring his upstate NY setting because there were no less than 27 copies of Ironweed available on the fiction tables along with his companion books Legs, and Billy Bathgate. Alas, there were no Joyce Carol Oates texts to support a rabid NY author fan base. After the sale, we stopped at the Daily Planet Diner (Route 55 off the Taconic), with all its kitchy thematic elements, to round out the end of the last day of school and the first day of summer vacation.
Funds spent over the two weekends were $25.00 at Greenwich and $49.50 at Poughkeepsie bringing the grand total to$74.50. Total number of texts purchased? 117 books.
Over the course of the academic year, English teachers have been integrating the numerous used books purchased through library book sales into classroom libraries; some books have been offered as independent choice books while others have been used as whole class reads. Once the school year ended, we stacked the returned texts back into our hidden book room where access, strangely enough, is gained by going through a bathroom. Based on this latest haul, we may have to order another set of book shelves!