I counted nearly 250 people lined up to enter the Grant Park Highschool gym for the Friends of the Library book sale when the doors opened at 10.
On Saturday I volunteered at the annual Friends of the Library book sale at Grant Park Highschool. The sale has been a Winnipeg tradition for more than a decade and a half.
My job was to sit at the door and count the people coming in. We opened the doors at 10:00 and ten minutes later 331 folks were in the gym engaging in a book buying frenzy.
The calm before the storm. Volunteers worked hard on Friday night to set up more than fifty tables full of books
For a whole year dedicated volunteers had been sorting and pricing and boxing books in the basement of a Winnipeg library and now another raft of volunteers was helping customers find books, acting as cashiers and keeping all the tables stocked with merchandise.
Books are organized into more than twenty categories.
The money from the sale all goes to support programs at Winnipeg’s public libraries. In 2018 the sale raised $23,000. At 1:30 when my shift ended 1047 people had passed through the doors. I wonder how many more visited Saturday afternoon and Sunday?
Look at all these eager book buyers!
I couldn’t believe how many of the folks I recognized as they came through the door. I saw former students of mine, people from my church, my children’s friends, a fellow blogger, colleagues from the art gallery where I work, members of other boards I serve on, a resident of my condo, a former Winnipeg Free Press colleague, a player on my husband’s ball team, a good friend and a university colleague. People left with boxes and carts and huge bags full of books.
I said good-bye and thanked people for coming as they exited.
Sitting at the door as they left many book buyers engaged me in conversation or made comments I overheard.
“This was crazy wonderful.”
“I come to this sale every year. I wouldn’t miss it. ”
“I’m a teacher and now my classroom is stocked with books.”
“I’ve been here browsing for hours. It’s awesome.”
“Large print books are so hard to find, but I found some here.”
“As you can see from this stack I’m a biography man.”
“I’m ready for eight months of winter reading now.”
“I found all these lovely huge art books and I am going to frame the pages to make a classic art wall in our house.”
“I hope there is enough room in my car for all these books.”
“I got Christmas presents for all my grandkids.”
“A big thanks to the volunteers for doing this.”
“This is my second visit today and I’ll be back again tomorrow.”
“I found a bunch of new authors I want to try.”
“I wish I had three or four more hands so I could carry more books.”
“I hate to go home and leave so many beautiful books behind.”
“I found some really nice surprises.”
“What great fun I’ve had.”
Anyone who thinks people are no longer passionate about books and reading should have been at the Friends of the Library sale last weekend when Winnipeg book lovers of every age indulged voraciously in their love of literature.
My Childhood Reading Heaven
Winnipeg’s Millenium Library
There’s A Waterfall on the Library
A Bottomless Vortex of Books