Local libraries to host massive book sale

The East Waco library is one of the Waco-Mclennan County Libraries that will host the 54th Annual Book Sale this weekend. Photo credit: Jessica Hubble

By Megan Rule | Staff Writer

The biggest fundraiser of the year, the 54th Annual Book Sale for the Friends of the Waco-McLennan County Library, takes place this weekend, Nov. 3-6 at the Extraco Event Center.

“The book sale is one of my kids’ favorite events every year,” said Kevin Tankersley, Baylor senior lecturer in journalism. “We always go Friday right after school then make another trip or two over the weekend.”

There will be over 110,000 books, DVDs, CDs and more from over 80 categories, according to the library’s website . Admission is $5 on Thursday and free Friday through Sunday. Hardback and paperback books are $2, DVDs are $3, music CDs are $1.50, vinyl records and mass market paperback books are $1 and children’s books range from 50 cents to $1.50.

“Over the years, it has grown and developed into a wonderful event for us book nerds. It’s just rows and tables and tables of books,” said Gina Ford, president of the Board of Directors of the Waco-McLennan County Library. “What’s great is throughout the year our volunteers have sorted, categorized and alphabetized by section.”

The first book fair started in the basement of the library one weekend a year, as it was the best way to get rid of books that the library didn’t need. The funds raised from the book sale are used for children’s programs, equipment, carts or anything else that the library needs that isn’t supplied by the city of Waco or McLennan County.

“The main reason the Friends of the Library book sale is important to Waco is that virtually all of the net profit from the sale goes right back into the local community,” said Randy Fiedler, director of marketing and communications for the College of Arts and Sciences at Baylor. “So when you shop at the book sale, you’re helping local libraries put more books on their shelves and offer more programs for kids.”

Fiedler has been a volunteer with the Friends of the Waco-McLennan County Library since 2006 and served as the president from 2010-12. This will be his 11th year volunteering to work at the book sale. According to Fiedler, no matter what type of books you like to read, you’re likely to find at least one or two books that interest you at the sale as there are over 100,000 titles.

“The annual Friends of the Library book sale does a number of important things for the Waco area. First of all, in these tough economic times, it allows local residents the chance to buy used books and DVDs at very low prices,” Fiedler said “It’s a bonanza for all of the bookaholics in Central Texas – myself included – and it’s also a great boon for parents who homeschool their children and want to build up their instructional libraries for very little money.”

At the end of the book fair, the books that aren’t sold are all handled differently. Some are kept because of their intrinsic value, some are recycled as paper and some go to a bulk buyer who will buy books as a penny on the pound.

“Don’t miss our potpourri section where we sell all of the odd objects that people have included with their book donations,” said Dr. Paul Larson, director of undergraduate studies in Spanish. “If you do have book donations to make, please take them to the entrance of the west library branch on Bosque near Target.”

In the past, Baylor students have shown up at midnight Thursday to wait in line for rare and out-of-date book collections. This is common among graduate students who are looking for collections of books that have been donated by retired professors. It is also common to see Baylor students show up on Sunday, the last day of the sale as shoppers get to fill bag with as many books as they would like for just $10.

“Literacy is the foundation for better quality of life; it is the foundation for being able to learn and imagine and grow as a person,” Ford said. “Usually, reading is the very beginning foundation, and that is very important for young people to gain as much knowledge to be future good citizens.”

Doors open at 10 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, and at noon on Sunday. The event is located at 4601 Bosque Blvd. People interested in volunteering can go to the library website, as this is a great opportunity for students who need volunteer hours, Ford said.