The Friends of the Westport Public Library book sale never disappoints a reader. In fact, many of the books that I have purchased at this sale in previous summers (2009-2011) now stock our classroom libraries for grades 7-12. Our Grade 10 World Literature class now has entire class sets of The Life of Pi and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. The same can be said for the Grade 12 Memoir Class with The Glass Castle. This means that I have had to become more selective and pluck out only the titles that we need to replace or increase. Now, when I see the covers of these texts, I have to stop my hand from its automatic reach; our shelves are already full! So, if there are schools looking to add these titles, I left many great titles on the tables.
This Westport Public Library book sale is massive and almost professionally run; the volunteers could consider running training classes for other library book sales. There are legions of volunteers who straighten tables of books or count purchases. Be aware, however, there are also legions of shoppers; parking is at a premium.
This year, I found copies of books for the Grade 11 Native American Unit: Larry Watson’s Montana 1948, Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. I suspect these books are also taught in the Westport school system because of the number of copies. Montana 1948 is “about a middle-class Montana family torn apart by scandal during the summer of 1948” and was awarded the Milkweed National Fiction Prize. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian was reviewed by School Library Journal as a semi-autobiographical chronicle of Arnold Spirit, aka Junior, a Spokane Indian “whose determination to both improve himself and overcome poverty, despite the handicaps of birth, circumstances, and race, delivers a positive message in a low-key manner.” Both receive high marks from our students.
There were also two copies of A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an Age by William Manchester which is a new text for our AP European World History course.
The large tents for the Westport book sale provide enough room for patrons and the tables full books. Maps are distributed at the entrance; a mountain of empty boxes is available for shoppers to fill. Hard to tell if the organizing committee has chosen not to alphabetize because of the number of books titles or because they want to encourage more browsing, I am not sure. I know I visited every table! There were far more book vendors there this year who load up large bags using professional scanners. This sale makes it easy for them to return books they do not want by genre; there are clearly labeled containers; if you cannot find a title, check these containers!
Books are priced at $.50-$3.00 on Saturday, the first day of the sale; there are discount days through Tuesday, June 24.
|Saturday & Sunday||9 am to 6 pm|
|Monday (everything 1/2 price)||9 am to 6 pm|
|Tuesday (free day: suggested cash donation $5/bag)||9 am to 1 pm|
Signs marking each genre were placed on the tables, but the maps were more reliable. I used the map to locate the young adult section which were filled with great choices for independent reading. As a bonus, the children’s section has its own separate tent. Picture books are raised on shelves, smaller chapter books are laid spines up for easier browsing.
I spent $80.50 in total for four bags of carefully selected books.
As I left, the local newspaper photographer was taking candid shots of students in the Children’s section. One young girl, about 11 years old, had her arms so full of book, the photographer could not see her face.
“Where are you?” she joked with the girl.
“I’m lost in these books,” the girl giggled in response.
I left smiling.