Like the fairy-tale princess in “Rumpelstiltskin,” several days of the week Diane Schatte sits in a small room processing books into readers’ gold. Instead of spinning, Diane unpacks bag after bag, pages upon pages of novels and non-fiction, bound for the Washington Public Library book sale.
This year, for reasons unknown, a not-so-grim fact is apparent. There are more book donations than ever — 5,000 or more — so many volumes they’re about to box Diane out of the Friends of the Library room where all the sorting, shelving and packing takes place.
On Monday, when I went to the library to talk to Diane and fellow Friends of the Library member Pam Kruse, the duo were dwarfed by rows of boxes stacked five-high.
They’re running out of space, but donations will still be accepted next Saturday, Sept. 14, from 9 a.m. to noon and Monday, Sept. 16, from 4-7 p.m. at the city park auditorium.
There’s something for every reader’s taste, Diane said — mysteries, romance, history, cookbooks, gardening books, kids’ titles galore, some books in Spanish others in German — “You name it and this sale’s going to have it,” Diane said.
CDs and DVDs are included too, but not as many magazines this year as in the past because those are offered for sale weekly at the library with proceeds going to the children’s reading programs.
With so many thousands of books being dropped off at the library, Diane said the Friends have been able to weed out the ones that aren’t in good condition — so only the best of the best will be offered at the sale, titles in mint condition. There are also an abundant number of very old books from people’s libraries dating 1890-1910.
Diane and Pam aren’t the only ones working to ready the books for the sale. Lots of Friends members lend a hand. For Diane, it’s a volunteer job that’s rewarding and interesting.
“When you unpack these books you get an idea of who these people are, even though you never get to see them or meet them.”
This is the seventh year for the Friends Book Sale, an event that city library director Nell Redhage says is much appreciated. “Every year there is so much anticipation by patrons about the book sale. Questions about ‘When is it?’ start in the spring already. As the third weekend in September draws closer, people want to make sure they don’t miss it. ‘When is it?’ is a constant question.
“It is the one major opportunity for Friends of the Library to help hands-on with a Friends fund-raiser. Diane gets lots of willing volunteers to help her during the setup and sale days. It’s a great time to also visit with fellow Friends.”
Redhage said the library has benefited tremendously from the proceeds of the book sale. Funds have been used for the outdoor digital marquee, PA system, books, DVDs, boom box, additional meeting room chairs, clocks, easels, canopies, a disc repairer and author visits. And those were all items purchased just this year, she added.
From grandparents anxious to build a library at their house for their grandkids, to the book collector looking for a rare volume, to Grisham and Evanovich fans on the hunt for the one title they haven’t read by their favorite author, the library book sale is sure to have plenty of solid gold finds.
The sale will be held Saturday, Sept. 21, from 9 a.m-4 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 22, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Washington City Park Auditorium.
Can’t wait to view all of the treasures? You can attend the sale on Friday, Sept. 20, from 4 to 7 p.m. if you’re a Friend of the Library member. If you’re not a member you can become one at the door. The Friends of the Library have a number of different membership levels.