I’m up for air!

The past week or so I have been setting up for my (Champaign County Ohio) book sale. It is an exercise of love by a few volunteers, most Friends of the Library and a few volunteers (affectionately referred to as “lower case friends”) who are no less dedicated.

I have lost track of how many years I have headed this sale, but none of us have seen a sale like this one.

Much of how this sale goes is in my head. Not good unless I want to oversee this sale from beyond. At the urging of my friend and Friend Vice President, Amy B, I have started to write down sales rules. I also started keeping track of a few other things that I thought might be of interest. Specifically how many hours I put in prior to the actual sale week and the number of items in the sale. (Three weeks prior to the sale doled out in one-day-a-week dosage and 77 hours last week alone.)

For one of my early sales I put an advertisement on Booksalefinder.com, a site to find library and other non-profit book sales. There was information I needed to give that I didn’t know, so I turned to the library staff liaison.

“How many books in the sale?”

I’m measurementally challenged so I didn’t question when he answered, “2500 books.”

Last Monday, the storage closet where books are accumulated for the sale, partially through library discards and partially from donations, was full. The library liaison, now the Library Director, was hiding donations from me because there was no place to put them in the closet and where he had to hide them was not easy access for anyone sure on her or his feet, let alone me. Still the closet had 7,000 books I had processed since the week after the fall book sale (we do this the first weekend in May and again the first weekend in October).

In addition to starting our set-up with almost three-times the quantity we’d thought was normal, we knew the branch was contributing to our sale. Their contribution ended up being about 2600 books or a normal, we thought, book sale.

By the time for preview sale at 5 p.m. on Thursday, we had over 15,000 books, 2600 VHS and almost 600 DVDs. We overflowed the meeting room and developed two annexes – one moving into the library area and the other dislodging the library employees from their parking spaces where we set up a tent-room of awnings. Since the weather was threatening during the course of our sale, we finagled sides with tarps.

We broke records in addition to the number of items in our sale. We now have more Friend of the Library members than ever and we brought in twice as much money as our previous high sale.

I could write and write and write about the miracles, ingenuity, mutual idiosyncrasies (are we all OCD?), and dedication of the volunteers that I worked with last week. Maybe later.

Possibly the funniest incident of the week concerned the collection of train magazines donated to our sale by a friend of mine, Sam who is married to Amy Z. The issues spanned from the 1940s to present.

I laughed out loud when I saw who was buying the train magazines – Amy Z’s ex-husband.

I knew all was friendly among those parties, so I asked, “Does Sam get visitation rights?”