By A. J. Goldsmith, GazeboNews contributor
Early in the morning on Sept. 16, buyers stood in line at the Lake Forest Rec Center waiting for 8:30 a.m. when the doors would open enabling them to buy books, videos and music at half the price they were marked the previous three days.
It was the fourth day of the Friends of the Friends of the Lake Forest Library’s 37th annual sale. Waiting for “bargain day” were teachers seeking to build their room libraries, bookstore owners, a number of folks looking for bargains that they can reoffer on E-Bay and just people who like to read or collect unusual volumes.
Co-chairmen Nancy Mieling and Sande Noble were busy making sure that volunteers were place, counting buyers as they entered and left, calling out the prices of purchases to cashiers, collecting money, restacking books and helping purchasers carry the loads to their cars. This year there were 240 volunteers most of whom worked at least one, three-hour shift and some more.
Some 4,265 people (including children) came to the four-day sale and spent a total of $122,000 for their purchases. The average sale was $26.50 although dealers and resellers bought considerably more. In 2011, 4,102 attended and spent about $9,000 less.
Mieling and Noble have been co-chairs of this event since 1999. For the past three years it has been held in the Rec Center. They happily moved the sale from a huge tent in West Park where, several times, rain and flooding impacted their efforts.
One reseller told Noble that he attends 100 book sales a year, but The Friends of the Lake Forest Library sale is “the best.”
Some of the reasons are that the sales items are well arranged. For example, cook books are grouped by subject making it easier for people looking for a particular item. There are 108 categories to be checked out. All fiction is alphabetized by author and further broken down to recent and vintage sections. History is grouped by subject. Religion and poetry offerings are unique. Rare books draw collectors.
When Noble was asked how many items, books, tapes, DVDs were sold, she answered by telling us that 3,200 boxes of items went to the book sale. When the sale ended on Sunday, nonprofit institutions collected 1,200 boxes. During the year, an additional 1,000 boxes of books and other items were donated to various not-for-profit institutions.
That Sunday, at the end of the 37th annual book sale of the Friends of The Lake Forest Library, hospitals, libraries, and other institutions came in and swept all that wasn’t purchased.
No sooner had the last box of books gone out the door of the Rec Center, new donations were collecting at the back door of the Library and on Monday volunteers began the year-long task of sorting and pricing for 2013 book sale scheduled for September 12-15.