Friends of the Library Booksale

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” - Lemony Snicket

Each May and October, a phenomenal transformation occurs. Over four weeks, a giant warehouse  filled to overflowing with more than 250,000 volumes of books, magazines, DVDs, puzzles, and games, is emptied by booklovers across Tompkins County and beyond. It's the Friends of the Library Booksale, one of my top three favorite things about Ithaca. I have attended and bought books at every sale (and numerous times throughout the sale) for at least ten years, though I skipped one or two during Covid. 

It's an event that reinvigorates my hope for the world. Aisle after aisle of books of every genre you can think of, and many you can't, all donated with the sole purpose of passing on entertainment and education, as well as raising money for the TC Public Library. In this modern world of digital media, virtual reality, social technology (all of which have their costs and benefits) I remain astounded that I live in a community that can move hundreds of thousands of books every six months. It is wild and refreshing. 

This spring I snuck in at the end of the day on the first day, when prices are at their highest- $4.50 per book- and found a handful of gems. Then I stopped in yesterday, when every item was 10 cents, and raked in 20 items for $2. Some classics I couldn't pass up and will put out in my Little Free Library, others for reference, art, or some fictional entertainment, and a couple of cookbooks for our family shift back toward a vegetarian diet. 

Will I ever get to read all these books? Not to mention the hundreds I have on my shelves already, the thousands I can take out from the library, and the multitude of books yet to even be published. This article from BookBub shows some charts that estimate how many books one might expect to read in their lifetime. Though I've had a few slimmer years, I'm back on the reading bandwagon. And according to this chart, if I keep to a good clip and assuming I live for a while longer, I may have about 2,000 books left. 

That's a reasonable number. And a lot more trips to the Friends of the Library Booksale. 

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” - Mortimer J. Adler