Archives For Friends of the New Milford Library

There are organized containers of books, spines out for easy browsing, that sit in rows on well-spaced tables. There are signs that mark the genres (fiction, travel, nature, self-help, romance, etc) for targeted shopping. I notice there is a lovely older woman who shadows me anxiously; she is trying to take my heavy load of books to a table for “lay-away” so that I can shop easier. I smile politely and refuse her help; I don’t want to belabor the point that my bags weigh as much as she does. She seemed disappointed. As I looked back I considered that perhaps I had been mistaken; her biceps were very defined! Yes, tidiness and a cadre of very fit efficient elders ready to provide assistance are the hallmarks of the Friends of the New Milford Library Book Sale in New Milford, Connecticut.

The sale is held in the New Milford High School on Route 7, and the hours for 2013 are:

Thursday, July 11th –
Early Bird, $5.00 – 9am-10am
Doors open @ 9am – 7pm close
Friday, July 12th: 10am – 7pm
Saturday, July 13th:10am – 5pm
Sunday, July 14th – HALF PRICE DAY!: 10am – 3pm

In 20 minutes, I had two bags (totaling $31) filled with books used at different grade levels. Note the three copies of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (photo) which retails at Amazon for $12.41. Three new copies of this book would retail for $37.23. I got these three lightly used copies and all of the other books pictured in the photo for $6.31 LESS than the cost of the three new copies. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is in our Grade 10 World Literature course, and our students enjoy the narration by the autistic boy who uses Sherlock Holmes’s deductive reasoning to solve a mystery.

photo (20)

Stack of books used in our curriculum; additional independent reading books in the other bag

Other big finds that are in the photo included copies of Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, a copy of Stephen King’s On Writing, and Nancy Fisher’s The House of the Scorpion. There are many other “finds” in the bag next to the neat stack of books.

When I shop at these local sales, I think about how each town’s book sale is a small sociological study. If one could speculate about the interests of the people of New Milford, one would conclude:

  1. There are some serious, diehard James Patterson fans;
  2. There is a dedicated interest in nature, animals, and travel (althought this is the first year I did not find a single copy of Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods);
  3. The entire back half of the area illustrates that children have access to books at all levels.

Finally, I feel it is worthy to note, but rather awkward to say, that there were at least 10 cartons of the Books for Dummies series. I am not saying anything about New Milfordites here…. I’m just sayin’.

Check out was a breeze; receipts for teachers were pre-prepared, and I made a beeline for the door so that lovely elderly woman wouldn’t try to help me carry my bags back to my car. Her energy was making me look bad!

This weekend July 13-15, 2012 is the annual Friends of the New Milford Public Library summer book sale (alert to nearby Connecticut/NY residents), and even after I cleaned them out of some great trade paperbacks,there are many bargains to be had. The sale is held in the New Milford High School on Route 7 in a large all-purpose room that has ample room for browsers. The books are very well organized on large spacious tables and very clearly labeled, and, more importantly, the labels are correct-there is no mixing of genres.

I picked up two copies of Bobbie Ann Mason’s In Country  (1993) to use with Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. This is a very popular text with many of the girls in Grade 11; The School Library Journal reviewed this text:

“Sam Hughes, whose father was killed in Vietnam, lives in rural Kentucky with her uncle Emmett, a veteran whom she suspects is suffering from exposure to Agent Orange. Sam is a typical teenager, trying to choose a college, anticipating a new job at the local Burger Boy, sharing intimacies with her friend Dawn, breaking up with her high school boyfriend, and dealing with her feelings for Tom, one of Emmett’s buddies….Her father’s diary finally provides the insight she seeks insight she cannot accept until she has visited the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.”

There were also five brand new copies of Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. Obviously, this was a book assigned for a course at a local high school or read by a local book group. These five copies mean that we can continue the tradition and assign the reading for one of our courses! Publisher’s Weekly reviewed this book in 2001:

Determined to find out how anyone could make ends meet on $7 an hour, Ehrenreich left behind her middle class life as a journalist except for $1000 in start-up funds, a car and her laptop computer to try to sustain herself as a low-skilled worker for a month at a time..Delivering a fast read that’s both sobering and sassy, she gives readers pause about those caught in the economy’s undertow, even in good times.

This book sale always has a great selection of  children’s books. Last year, I met a friend with two small children of her own who was hauling out at least 100 titles; she had barely made a dent in the collection. This year my bargain was a set (3) of The Cat in the Hat books. There is a great lesson on the Read, Write, Think website for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) that explains Freudian psychology using this children’s text. The lesson is called Id, Ego and Superego and the Cat in the Hat and my students love looking at the pictures to see how the wild “ids” of Thing 1 and Thing 2 almost cause a disaster.

I spent $42.50 for two bags filled with books (38 total). As I checked out, I mentioned to a volunteer that I blogged about this book sale last year.

“Well,” she challenged me, “did you notice the books are all on the tables?”
I looked around. Sure enough there were no books on the floor.
“Last year, you complained about the books on the floor being hard to reach,” she continued, “So we put them all on tables!”
“Oh, I didn’t mean…” my voice trailed.
“When someone criticizes what needs to be fixed, we fix it,” she stated proudly.

So, go to the Friends of the New Milford Public Library Book Sale if you are in the area. This is a good book sale….made even better with better browsing tables!