By Jennifer Smith | Reporter
The Friends of the Waco-McLennan County Library are hosting their 55th Annual Book Sale blow out this Thursday through Sunday. The sale will take place at the Extraco Events Center, in the Creative Arts and General Exhibits Building. There will be 110,000 sorted Books, CDs, DVDs and over 80 categories of miscellaneous items that are waiting to be found.
Jessica Emmett has worked at the McLennan County Library for two years and said the book sale is one of the most anticipated annual events for the library. Originally, the sale took place inside the public library, but after so many successful years it outgrew the space and moved to the Extraco for more room.
“The sale is put on by Friends of the Library, which is our support group,” Emmett said. “All the money they raise goes toward funding library projects. So they’ve helped fund things like our new upstairs desk, and also programs that we will have in the future. It really helps us do those extra things to improve the library, that usually wouldn’t be in our budget.”
The sale not only includes the McLennan County Library’s books, but also donations that have come in from the community. Emmett said anyone is encouraged to donate, and the library takes donations all year long. She said the best place to take donations is the West Waco Library at 5301 Bosque Blvd. where the Friends of the Library have space to keep them.
“They display over 100,000 items every year like books, DVDs, puzzles, vinyl records, all kinds of things. Anything that is donated and could be entertaining to someone will be put out at the book sale,” Emmett said.
She said this massive blowout sale is like heaven for book lovers.
“The book sale is always very crowded. The first day there’s always a big ‘Black Friday-type’ rush with a line out the door. Once they are let in, people usually go pretty crazy just searching through all the stuff and picking out the items they want,” Emmett said.
Alisha Bell has been working at the McLennan County Library for 13 years, and currently works at the new upstairs front help desk which was paid for by last year’s book sale. Bell said she is thankful for all the Friends of the Library contributes.
“The Friends are great to us; they contribute back to us the money they make. They paid for our new desk, and they cover summer programs for children. They sometimes provide breakfast and other helpful things for us,” Bell said. “The desk is far more spacious than what we had before; it’s so nice to be able to easily move around and work back here now.”
Bell said she has worked the book sale for at least five years and last year was the first time she got to experience the event as a customer.
“It’s a very busy place. People get so excited and focused on the different hidden gems they find,” Bell said. “It can get overwhelming, but it’s so fun. As the days go on it slows down a bit. Sunday’s are pretty relaxing, but most of the tables have been picked over by then.”
She said she has never heard of anyone leaving the book sale disappointed.
“People get really into it. I’ve seen people leave the sale with four or five huge H-E-B paper sacks full of books and movies. I’ve even seen people leave with full grocery carts. It’s like Christmas morning for them,” Bell said.
On any given day at the McLennan County Library, you can find kids roaming the children’s section with their parents, locals occupying the free computers and students enjoying the quiet space for studying. Emily Hicks is among the Waco residents who utilize the library’s atmosphere.
“I live right down the street from the library, so it’s a very convenient place to hang out and study. It’s always quiet and peaceful so it’s a great place to concentrate, plus there’s free WiFi, so what else could you need?” Hicks said.