Thank You, Friends of the Newtown CHBooth Library for “The Help”!

July 14, 2012 — Leave a comment

Yes, there were seven (7) copies of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help waiting for me to pluck them from the table at the Friends of the CH Booth Library book sale this morning. I have been hunting down this text for several months for use in conjunction with To Kill A Mockingbird, and -surprise!-there were 18 brand new copies of those as well.

This massive book sale provides easy shopping in the gym and the all purpose rooms of the Reed Elementary School in Newtown, CT, and offers convenient “holding areas”, carts, and plenty of empty boxes for readers to fill. The sale will continue from July 14-17, 2012. Organization is the key to a great library book sale, and this sale is extremely well organized. As I shopped, volunteers kept the books in order, alphabetizing as fast as book were replaced and loading additional copies of texts onto large tables. Their system made finding “sets” of books easy. The tables were laid out with wide aisles to allow for passing other browsers and there was a published floor plan on the website for shoppers to preview as well.

This year, all the trade paperbacks, fiction and non-fiction alike, were loaded onto the tables closest to the entrance., which seemed a logical choice as these books receive the most attention from browsers. At first I was a little disturbed seeing Lucy Grealey’s Autobiography of a Face and Erik Larsson’s The Devil in the White City next to Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, but I soon got over the blend of genres, in fact, this choice made my shopping for texts a little easier.

There were plenty of copies of books for me to “add” to our collection: Precious by Sapphire, Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. In fact, if teachers wanted to add The Kite Runner to their collection, there was a box of 30 or more copies under the table, ready to replace the five copies already up.

But my goal was Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, and it was goal achieved with the seven copies of The Help that I got! The bonus of getting 18 new copies of To Kill a Mockingbird, our core text for the unit for juniors, was icing on the cake (or pie?) The Help was reviewed in 2009 by Publisher’s Weekly:

“What perfect timing for this optimistic, uplifting debut novel set during the nascent civil rights movement in Jackson, Miss., where black women were trusted to raise white children but not to polish the household silver. Eugenia Skeeter Phelan is just home from college in 1962, and, anxious to become a writer, is advised to hone her chops by writing about what disturbs you. The budding social activist begins to collect the stories of the black women on whom the country club sets relies and mistrusts enlisting the help of Aibileen, a maid who’s raised 17 children, and Aibileen’s best friend Minny, who’s found herself unemployed more than a few times after mouthing off to her white employers. The book Skeeter puts together based on their stories is scathing and shocking, bringing pride and hope to the black community, while giving Skeeter the courage to break down her personal boundaries and pursue her dreams.”

As I shopped the animal section, a volunteer asked me, “Do you like the signs on the tables?”
“Yes, I like the signs on the table,” I replied (our conversation mimicking one from Go, Dog, Go which I had in my bag)
“Well, they were much more in order this morning,” she continued as she busily straightened the table.

If the books and signs were in better order in the morning, then this was the UBER-organized sale when the gates opened; I had arrived at 11:15 AM. The place was humming with shoppers, but the books sat neatly in their genres, signs clearly delineating where “Tween HC” (Teenage books-hard cover) sat and where “Non-Fiction PB” (paperback) began.
Needless to say, having a holding area and capable volunteers to tally a purchase is key to customer satisfaction. I had six bags plus one box (over 300 books) for a total of $314.00. My trunk was loaded easily from the front sidewalk of the sale, and no one complained that I ran over one of the pylons blocking the entrance.

So thank you, Friends of the CHBooth Library. Your book sale was a pleasure to attend and The Help that I needed!

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