Posted by: Kristi Tuck Austin | November 4, 2010

Richmond Public Library fall book sale

Earlier this fall, I had the pleasure of talking with Krista Dawson and Tori Scott Nunnally from Richmond Public Library about their literacy outreach programs.  This weekend, Richmond book lovers have an opportunity to fund those programs and get cheap books, some for only 50 cents.

Friday, November 5, the Friends of the Library fall book sale begins at Main Library.  Book sale chair Susan Hankins answered a few questions about this year’s event.

Q&A with Susan Hankins, book sale chair

Sale overview

The book sales are the main fund-raiser of the Friends of the Richmond Public Library, and we are fortunate to have a large and varied selection at each sale. We sell books, CDs, DVDs, cassette tapes, records, sheet music and videos. We have a wonderful group of dedicated volunteers who work year round preparing for the sales. The library staff is a great support, also. We couldn’t do it without either group.

What is your sales goal? How will Friends use the proceeds from this year’s sale?

All proceeds benefit programs of the Richmond Public Library, such as the popular summer reading program, and a lecture series featuring local authors. The money is solely for library programs. No set goal, we usually make more than $20,000 at the fall sale.

How does the fall book sale compare to the spring sale?

The fall book sale generally brings in more shoppers and more money. But both sales are full of great reads, great movies and great bargains.

How many books do you have for sale this fall? What genres do you carry?

We have more than 20,000 books for sale. This figure does not include the digital and tape media, nor records and sheet music.

Genres: Fiction, mystery, science fiction, short stories, philosophy/psychology, history, military history, biography and memoir, archaelogy/anthropology/sociology, travel/geography, foreign language, art/photography, cooking/diet, gardening, hobbies, true crime/legal, business/money, science and nature, technology and engineering, religion/spirituality/mythology, children’s and young adult books, drama, poetry, reference works, Christmas books, fashion and etiquette, and more. We’re like a book store. We also have a special collections room; books there are individually priced.

Prices: Hardback books – $2, paperbacks – 50 cents, Large print books – 50 cents, CDs – $1, DVDs – $1, Cassette tapes – 25 cents, children’s books – 50 cents.

When are the best times to visit to avoid lines?

Monday. But it’s not bad the rest of the time, except for the first few hours on Friday.

Do you have any other tips to enhance the shopping experience?

Spend some time and browse the stacks. You’ll find lots of good buys.

What is your favorite book sale find or anecdote?

My favorite is my brief conversation with two customers last spring during the first day of the sale. They are a husband-and-wife truck-driving team and are book lovers. They’d driven a load up to Virginia the night before. Once they’d reached the truck stop, they did an Internet search and found our book sale. They knew nothing about it but decided to give it a try, and complimented us on the good organization and the quality of the books. I urged them to return for this fall’s sale, but they just grinned and said they had no idea where they’d be hauling goods in 6 months’ time. I had to chuckle.

The other is how humbled we are by the lady who works at the city jail and spends her own money to buy books for the inmates’ library. Thrillers are some of her customers’ favorite reads, she said.

Personally, I am happily amazed at how many Richmond-area authors there are. We see a lot of books which were written by someone local.

Thanks, Susan!

How we can help

Donate books for the spring book sale at Main Library or any branch location.  Bring in the book donation receipt, and a librarian will sign it so it becomes your official record for tax deduction.  The Friends of the Library want hardback and paperback books in good condition: nothing yellowed, brittle, incomplete, torn, or moldy.  Please do not donate magazines, old textbooks, mass market paperbacks, spiral bound editions, Reader’s Digest condensed novels, notebooks, or anything bearing your doodles.  More information about donations is available here.

Consider becoming a Friend of the Richmond Public Library.  (Friends receive early admission to the book sale, as if feeling good about helping the library wasn’t enough of a perk.)  You can join at the book sale.


Friday, November 5

10am – 12pm Preview sale for Friends members only; membership may be purchased at the door

12 – 5pm Open to the public

7 – 9pm First Friday Art Walk

Saturday, November 6

10am – 4pm

Monday, November 8

10am – 6pm

See the Richmond Public Library website for additional information.

I enjoy Bill Lohmann’s video and article about the 2009 fall book sale.

I hope to see you at the fall book sale.  I’ll be the person running around with camera, overflowing bags of books, and a crazed grin.

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