Book sale a good fundraiser for library


Monday, April 27
BENNINGTON — "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes."

So said the medieval philospher Erasmus, and very little money indeed will buy plenty of books this coming weekend at the Friends of the Library book sale.

Presale available

The book sale, possibly the largest fundraiser the library holds every year, according to board of directors member Susan McKenna, will take place at the First Baptist Church on Main Street. The "presale" is Friday night, May 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission to the presale is $10 per person, though attendees under age 12 are admitted free.

"The benefit of that is that you get the first look at everything," McKenna said.

Admission Saturday is free, all day, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Look for children's activities in the morning, and a raffle. "I've got a family membership to the Bennington Museum," McKenna said, "certificates to the Bennington Bookshop, items from Knapp's and some great books."

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At the church, book lovers will find more than 70 pre-sorted categories. "It makes it easier to find what you're looking for," McKenna said. "Mystery, science fiction, romance, children's - we have a whole children's room, that our children's librarians set up. There's also a room for puzzles, CDs, DVDs and audio books. We sell a lot of those," she said.

Proceeds from the sale benefit various programs and services of the library - and the sale itself doesn't hurt the community. "Last year, we had more than 350 people come. Some of them said they wait for the sale all year. It's quite well attended," McKenna said.

A committee of five or six people dedicate themselves to putting on the sale, but there are hundreds of volunteer hours invested in it each year. Books are accepted and stored all year, and sorting begins in January. "We get 15,000 to 20,000 donated books, and we're better at getting the word out every year," McKenna said.

The sale has been going on for quite some time. It started in the library basement, and eventually moved outside, during Mayfest. Eventually, the sale outgrew the site, and for the past several years, it has been at its current location. "The folks at the Baptist church are really great. We take over for a couple of days." And with all the good books available, she said, it's hard not to shop while setting up the sale.

There are several different pricing scenarios, depending on what the buyer wants. Mass-market paperbacks are 4 for $1. Trade paperbacks and hardcover fiction and nonfiction are 2 for $1. Trade paperback and hardcover copies of recent books, published in the past five years, range from $1 to $5 apiece, depending on the year of publication.

The puzzles and other media can be found at "assorted bargain pricing," McKenna said, "depending on what we get, and the quality."

McKenna said the money from the book sale won't restore the operating hours that were cut recently, but will go to other necessary purposes. "It's more for programming, it funds a lot of children's programming, computer terminals, chairs, tables, those essentials for the library, so we don't have to cut back. This si probably our biggest fundraiser, but it all definitely helps."


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