BANGOR, Maine — Staff and volunteers at the Bangor Public Library have had a busy week organizing the thousands of donated books for today’s annual spring book sale.
“We work year after year on it, and we get better and better,” said volunteer Don Parsons. “We’re getting the hang of it now.”
The book sale, which the library has held every year since 1993, will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. today. Employees hope that this year’s event will be as big a success as it has been in previous years.
“I think it will be more of a success, given the economy,” said Elizabeth Stevens, a librarian in the Department of Local History and Special Collections. “This is the best selection of books I’ve seen.”
Library employees noted that the books that were donated this year are of noticeably higher quality than last year’s, although there are fewer of them.
“Each year, the quantity changes,” said Parsons. “The quantity [this year] is down, but the quality is way up.”
Head Librarian Barbara McDade said that money raised from this year’s book sale comes at a time of great need.
“We were flat-funded from the city last year, and prices continue to go higher,” she said. The library received $1.5 million from the city last year.
The book sale has always been a boon to the library, allowing staff to purchase items that the city budget precludes them from purchasing with general funds, such as audio books and summer reading programs for children.
McDade said she is “constantly amazed” by the number of people who line up every year to get into the book sale. “This is the biggest moneymaker for the Friends of the Library,” she said.
The book sale historically has been an enormously popular event, drawing hundreds of people into the library to paw through the thousands of titles that sell for one or two dollars each.
“The only crowds I’ve seen similar in Bangor is at the Folk Festival,” said Stevens. “There’s something really fun about being a part of the energy.”
But the books themselves are what bring in the people, said Stevens. This year, the library has a small selection of first editions and signed copies of books by authors such as Stephen King. One signed King book is marked at $75.
“It’s a fun way to spend money,” she said.
“You never know what treasures you’ll find.”