BENNINGTON — The book sale is back, and it’s twice as big as last year’s.
That’s the estimate of Leslie Noyes, a member of the board of the Friends of the Bennington Free Library, the organization which runs the popular annual benefit event.
“We’re very excited this year, because usually we have 15,000 to 20,000 books, and I believe this year we have 30 or more thousand,” Noyes said. “Usually, a truck and three-quarters of books is moved from the library to the church, but this year, it’s three and three-quarters trucks.”
Books are transported to the First Baptist Church, which hosts the sale each year.
The sale runs Friday, April 30, and Saturday, May 1. Friday’s hours are 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturday’s are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday night attendees are charged a $10 admission fee, because they’re getting “first dibs on coming through,” and the prices are slightly higher — generally a matter of 25 cents or so. Attendance on Saturday is free.
Friday evening will feature a silent auction of some particularly nice books, and a raffle of items donated by various businesses — chocolates, a Will Moses poster, and $30 in “farm dollars” among them.
On Saturday, at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., there will be children’s programming, with a librarian reading to the children, and activities aimed specifically at them.
Books are organized into more than 70 categories, for easier browsing. “We’re one of the most organized sales,” Noyes said. “And our prices are low. The Williamstown [Mass.] book sale makes almost twice what we do, but they have a wealthier clientele.
“Our book sale has two jobs. One is to raise money for the library, and the other is to put books in the hands of people who might not be able to buy them at the level they’d like to.”
Saturday prices are four for $1 for children’s books and softcover/paperbacks. Hardcovers and trade paperbacks will be two for $1. Audio books are $2 on CD and $1 on cassette, CDs and DVDs are $1; puzzles are 50 cents, and recent fiction, published between 2006 and 2010, will range in price from $1 to $5.
“We do it in volume,” Noyes said. “We have 30,000 books. Last year, we made $9,300. This year, we’re hoping to break $10,000. This is the biggest fund-raiser for the Friends of the Library.”
The Friends also raise funds with an in-library overnight for children, and a family tea hosted by Park-McCullough House. Funds raised support the library’s reading series, children’s outreach and activities in the children’s room. Noyes is also hoping that the sale will result in increased membership for the Friends organization.
In addition, “we pay for things that it’s hard for the library to put into their budget,” Noyes said. “We buy computer terminals, subscriptions to databases. And we recently bought them a podium that’s fully equipped for multimedia.”
The sale is volunteer-powered, Noyes said. Last year, a group of four or five people did the bulk of the work, and they were exhausted by the end of the sale. This year, they created a campaign that put folding signs on the tables of area restaurants, asking people to volunteer and pointing out that without help, there might not be a sale this year.
The campaign worked. “We’ll have 80 volunteers over the course of the next five days, from getting it set up to breaking the sale down. We couldn’t be more pleased,” Noyes said.
Noyes said people with questions about the sale are welcome to contact her at 802-379-7199.
Reprinted with permission from The Bennington Banner, written by STEPHANIE L. RYAN, written Thursday April 29, 2010