2,000 boxes of books!

It’s too late to haul your castoff books to Gordon Avenue to contribute to this year’s annual Friends of the Library sale. “All of our little spaces where we store the books are brimming,” says Bill Davis, Friends manager. “If we had another month to keep taking books in, we couldn’t do it.”

But the Friends of the Library don’t have another month. In fact, Saturday they’ll open the doors for one of the biggest deals book lovers can find.

How big is it? 

“This is the first year we have actually tried to keep track,” says Davis, “so in the next few years we’ll have some solid numbers.” He’s got a rough way to calculate, though. 

Volunteers for the book sale (and, except for Davis, who is the one paid employee of Friends of the Library, all workers at the sale are volunteers) have counted about 2,000 boxes full of books. Davis says a box can hold between 20 and 50 books. Thus he figures that this year’s sale will offer about 70,000 books— and CDs, and maps, and software, and whatever other goodies generous Charlottesville citizens have hauled to the library branch at Gordon Avenue in the past 12 months.

“Last year we made about $105,000,” Davis says. The proceeds go primarily to library activities such as summer reading programs, workshops, performances, and supplies. In years past, proceeds from the Friends sale have helped prompt important initiatives— the CD collection, the books-on-tape collection, and the e-books that patrons can borrow come to mind.

A few book collectors line up on the sidewalk before dawn the morning of sale’s first day, just because they know that treasures sit on those shelves, undiscovered by the volunteers who price the books at $1, $2, or $3. Davis remembers one day, just before the sale opened, when a volunteer pulled out a copy of John Dunning’s Booked to Die, a mystery about book collectors. Davis suggested it should be priced at $3, since it was in good condition. The volunteer informed him that on Bookfinder.com, a rare and used book website, the going price was about $900.

Who knows what treasures lurk in the $3 range this year?


The annual book sale by the Friends of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library at the Gordon Avenue branch will be open from March 16 through April 1, 9am to 8pm (except opening 12noon on Sunday, March 31. Children’s books, music, and professional books displayed March 16–22; main sale opens March 17. 1500 Gordon Ave., 977-8467, friends@avenue.org.

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