‘I keep bringing a bigger bag:’ Used book sales at library more popular than ever

Jul 22, 2021

At the Friends of the Wareham Free Library’s used book sales, the rule of thumb is “shop ‘til you drop,” according to volunteers.

Priscilla Porter, the President of the Friends of the Wareham Free Library, said the sales have been very popular recently. For the past few months, she noted, a line has formed outside the sale as early as half an hour before the doors opened.

Many of the shoppers are regulars, Porter said. 

“I love the sale,” said Muriel Slaney, one frequent used book sale shopper. “I’ve been bookless for two weeks, and I couldn’t wait for this sale. ” 

Slaney was one of the first people through the doors on Thursday, July 22, at 9:30 a.m. when the sale opened. She said the sales typically have a great selection of reading material. 

“I was so thrilled,” she said. “Three months ago, I guess, they had all these new books published within the last four years.” 

Slaney brought a list of authors she wanted to try and said she has a strategy for shopping the sales. She starts with the more expensive “murder and mayhem” books, which are her favorite, and works her way around the sale tables to the cheaper books, she explained.

By 9:40 a.m., Slaney already had a few books in her reusable bag. 

“I keep bringing a bigger bag,” she said.

Carla, a Friends volunteer who was working at the sale, said younger shoppers get excited about used books as well. 

“Kids come in, and they go through all the kids’ books,” she said. “They’ll sit there and look at them — it’s really cute.”

As shoppers perused the sale and picked out books — sometimes a few, sometimes a stack and sometimes a large box or bag full — Porter explained that each sale features one table that highlights one type of book. For the sales on July 22-24, the special topic table was science fiction and fantasy. 

“This sale, because we have so many sci-fi books, we have them ‘buy one get a second one of equal value free,’” Porter said. 

Porter said the Friends have a core group of about 15 volunteers who help with activities, including the used book sales. 

“We could always use volunteers,” Porter said. “Setting up and taking down is a task.” 

Volunteers have to set up tables in the Meeting Room of the main library, move all the books over from the Friends’ shed out back, and organize them all, she said. When the sale ends, they have to put everything away. 

“We do encourage shopping ‘til you drop,” Porter said with a laugh, looking at one shopper’s particularly large haul. 

The proceeds from the sales support the Friends of the Wareham Free Library. If possible, shoppers are asked to bring their own bags.

The Friends’ July used book sale will be open July 22 until 4 p.m. and July 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Saturday, the sale will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To volunteer with the Friends, email friendswfl@gmail.com or call (508) 295-2343. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/friendswfl/