Archives For Southport Pequot Library

The Southport Pequot Library in Southport, Connecticut, hosts a summer book sale every July under large tents that cover most of the lawn and in the library’s auditorium. Browsing for books under this acreage, one can only imagine “Where did all these books come from?”

The most logical conclusion I can come to is that Southport residents must do nothing all day but read.

They must read a book a day…maybe more.

I tried as hard as I could to lessen the load of titles on the young adult tables, but the six boxes (approximately 250 books) I hauled out from the sale barely made a dent. These books will go into classroom libraries for independent reading (silent sustained reading -SSR), literature circles, book clubs, etc. The premise of bringing these books to the classroom is to make sure that students at all grade levels have access to books at any given moment during the school day.

In under two hours, I filled six boxes with plenty of favorites (grades 5-10) from authors Gary Paulson, Meg Cabot, Ann Brashares, Jerry Spinelli, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Rick Riordan. I also grabbed selections of book series that fall into the “popular culture categories” such Goosebumps (RL Stine) , Captain Underpants (Dav Pilkey), Ranger’s Apprentice (John Flanagan), and Alex Rider (Alex Horowitz).

These are not the books that teachers will “teach” but they are the books students will read; the difference is described in an earlier post.

There was a box of a dozen copies of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. I picked up 10 clean copies of this best seller as a reading choice for students groups who prefer non-fiction. This is the story of a young boy in Malawi (Africa) who developed a contraption that would provide his village with electricity and running water:

With a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks; some scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves; and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to forget an unlikely contraption and small miracle that would change the lives around him. (The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind)

There is increased attention to incorporate informational texts such as this book because of the design of the  Common Core State Standards in Literacy which suggest that by 12th grade, 70% of a reader’s diet should be non-fiction. The copies I have are enough for a small group(s) to read in literature circles or book clubs.

I also collected copies of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road for the American Literature classes (grade 10). This apocalyptic novel is worth including in a curriculum because of McCarthy’s style and message. In an earlier post I describe how The Road was the first book I collected for use in the classroom; its integration into curriculum was very successful. Copies of the book with its distinctive black cover and bold lettering were easily found among the 10 or 12 tables of donated fiction….as if there had been a massive book club after-party.

Screenshot 2015-07-26 14.16.55There were large crowds attending the Southport Pequot Library’s annual sale on Saturday, and the long lines of patrons waiting patiently to check out at the volunteer cashier tables might cause one to wonder if the sale has become a victim of its own success?

On the other hand, as they slowly snaked past the tables of nature books and cookbooks, patrons continued to browse and added even more purchases to the piles in their arms or bags. No one complained as there was always something to read.

Overflow of books or marketing geniuses??…those long lines on a Saturday afternoon could just be another successful marketing technique by the Friends of the Pequot Library.

Peqout Library in Southport, CT

The 2012 summer tri-athlon  of Fairfield County, Connecticut, Friends of the Public Library book sales is over! Hundreds of book buyers have visited Newtown’s C.H.Booth’s Library, Westport’s Public Library, and finally, Southport’s Pequot Library in search of bargains and great reads. Each book sale has its own distinctive  level of organization and quality of merchandise. Newtown is “uber”-organized, and Westport caters to large crowds of book buyers with an enormous selection. Southport’s claim to fame is the quality of the texts.

Newtown and Westport book sales offer holding areas for book buyers to place filled boxes or bags. Southport has quality texts. Westport and Newtown book sales have well-organized tables and books sorted into correct genres. Southport has quality texts. Westport and Newtown book sales have volunteers  that move with the crowd and refresh tables. Southport has quality texts.

Quality texts are perhaps the only reason to attend the Pequot Library’s book sale. In two hours, I spent $306.00 on four boxes of books for different grade levels. For example:

  • 4 copies of Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood- Grade 10 World Literature
  • 12 copies of The Help– Grade 11-Civil Rights unit
  • 5 copies of Speak-Grade 9
  • 6 copies of All the King’s Men-AP English Language and Literature
  • 6 copies of The Giver-Grade 7
  • 7 copies of Night-Grade 10-Interdisciplinary unit
  • 5 copies of Tuesdays with Morrie-Grade 9 Independent read  or Grade 11 Coming of Age unit
  • 2 copies of The Odessey (Fitzgerald)-Grade 9
  • 4 copies of Beowulf (Heaney)-Grade 10 -World Literature

Each text was in mint condition. More than a few looked “unread” by students who must have purchased the text for class. All copies were free of notes or highlighting. I do suspect that there are students in Southport, like my students in Litchfield, who may be opting for Sparknotes support!

Southport offers a Friday preview day with books at double the cost, but by the following Tuesday, books are $5.00/bag.

2012 Hours and Pricing:
Friday, July 27 – 9am to 8pm – All items double the marked price
Saturday, July 28 – 9am to 5:30pm – All items priced as marked
Sunday, July 29 – 9am to 5:30 pm – All items priced as marked
Monday, July 30 – 9am to 6pm – All items half price
Tuesday, July 31 – 9am to 2pm – $5 per bag day!

The volunteers were gracious, but many seemed to be “in-training” or waiting for an authority to make a decision. That did not take away from the quality of the texts. There were books -particularly fiction-that had been placed on the ends of the tables left partially covered by the large tent. Unfortunately, many of these books did get saturated by the soaking rain the night before. This has happened in years past. One wonders what the volunteers could do in the future to avoid the damage that happens when there are texts uncovered; it is sad to see so many good quality books damaged when they could bring a profit to the library or more literature to a classroom.

There are discounts  offered to teachers in Bridgeport and New Haven, but with education budgets receiving cuts around the state, perhaps consideration can be given to teachers in other towns as well? Most teachers pay out of pocket for school supplies, not the school districts. Teacher discounts would help support literacy in classrooms throughout the state by creating “book floods” in each school.

My tri-athalon of book sales is over for the summer. My classroom libraries grades 7-12 are almost filled in preparation for 2012-2013. I have collected my goal-a class set of The Help, and added a number of new titles for independent reading or literature circles. There is a book flood at Wamogo Middle/High School And, thanks to Southport, many of these books are quality texts.