At the various branches of the Chicago Public Library I frequented from 2001-2011, I bought books from a cart of discards and donations. I fell into the habit of checking the sale cart on my way to the checkout counter and often found something that seemed worth the 25 or 50 cents being asked for it. I paid when I checked out the books, and I always took pleasure in that transaction. A little treat. I actually found many great books on that cart -- Ruth Reichl's Garlic and Sapphires
, for example.
I could not have been more excited when we migrated to the suburbs and found that our beloved Elmhurst Public Library had a small room
dedicated to selling discards. Stopping to browse in that little room on my way to checkout is one of my favorite library rituals. There's a wall-mounted box where you slide in the suggested $1 donation per book.
Today I had five minutes and five bucks to spend in that little room. I was pleased with my finds.
Part of the ritual is removing the clear plastic overlay from the library books (with the tools pictured) and then carefully peeling off the stickers on the side of the book. I put the original dust jacket back on (sometimes damaged from impatient sticker peeling, but usually looking pristine). If I tried to tell you how much I enjoy handling the books and doing these small tasks, you might feel sorry for me. But don't.
Here are my finds from today and my reasons for choosing them ...
I loved the audio of Us by David Nicholls
. I actually own all of his books (except One Day
) in hardcover and thought I'd add this one to the shelf. Sometimes it's nice to have a physical reminder of a great audiobook.
I borrowed Courtney Maum's I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You
from the library (possibly this very copy?) last year and enjoyed it. Will I reread it? Not likely, but owning it allows me to share it with others. When one of my friends headed to Hilton Head for ten days this summer, I chose three great books for her to take along -- one was a library book sale room find and the other two were from the AAUW book sale (which deserves its own post). She loved the books* and then passed them on to another friend. They'll probably make their way back to me eventually, but if not, no biggie.
My mother-in-law loves to read, and I now have a sense of what she enjoys. I am always finding her reading material in the book sale room.
The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer
has been on my radar. I follow her on Twitter and happen to know she hails from Cincinnati, which makes me want to read her book. Duh.
Fair Shares for All: A Memoir of Family and Food by John Haney
was not on my radar, but food writing is something I enjoy even though I don't browse in that section of the library. Worth a try.
Seeing Better Nate Than Ever
in the book sale room felt like fate. I started following Tim Federle
on Twitter last month. His feed makes me laugh, and I'm eager to see what he can write when he has more than 140 characters to use.
Someone (someone like my husband, who is apprehensive about the number of books flowing into our house) might ask this obvious question: "But aren't they selling the books no one wants?" In some cases, sure, they are selling books that don't circulate often or at all. Nonetheless, the book sale room is a great place to find semi-recent bestsellers.
Our library will buy many, many copies of a hot new release. After the initial demand dies down, there's no longer shelf real estate for twenty copies of the same title. To the book sale room it goes!
If your library has such a magical place, pop in next time you're there. You may find a new read or an old favorite that you can treasure or share with others. You have nothing to lose, except a few dollars ... a donation to the local library that you love.
* The books my friend borrowed for vacation and loved were: The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand, The Good House by Ann Leary,
and Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
NOTE: The produce ridiculously staged with my book stack was purchased this morning at the Farmers' Market: zig zag zucchini, big fat tomato, and purple peppers. The light in the background of the picture is our oven pre-heating for the Red Baron pizza I was actually serving for dinner.