I had no business being there. My pile of unread books is precariously high, teetering as tall as my 6’5″ hubby. I don’t need more books.
But when the Vancouver Public Library has its semi-annual book sale, how can I resist its siren call? (What, too overly dramatic?)
Held each spring, summer and fall in a relatively small room on the lower level of the Central Branch, the VPL Book Sale often draws large crowds. Yesterday, I waited about an hour in a long line that wound its way upstairs, through the library atrium and outside the building.
Once inside, I browsed the tables — organized roughly by category: travel, art, cookbooks, science, literature, et cetera — before making my selections. They have plenty of contemporary fiction and a wide range of non-fiction books, but I ended up leaving with a 20+ year old hardcover copy of Roget’s Thesaurus, plus a matching set of three Jane Austen classics: Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility. Yes, of course, I already own the Austen novels — but there is a method to my madness, to be revealed at a later date.
The VPL Book Sale continues through Sunday, April 11, so be sure to visit this weekend. Check out their website for hours and the price list.
A few library book sale tips:
- Bring an iPod or something to read while you wait – the line was long, and listening to others complain about the wait got tiresome quickly; entertain yourselves.
- Watch your step – due to the enormous quantity of books for sale, they don’t all fit on the tables so there are boxes and boxes jammed underneath the tables. I nearly stepped on someone sitting on the floor, digging through a box of paperbacks.
- Be open to serendipity – the library sale is moderately-organized chaos. There is no alphabetizing by title or author, no Dewey Decimal System. If you come in with a specific list of books you need, you’ll likely go home disappointed. Just browse and grab that books that call to you.
- Bring small change – prices range from 55¢ to $2.25, and the sale is cash only. My four books set me back a whopping $3.90.
- Leave the baby stroller and rolling storage box at home (or at least outside the sale room) – the aisles between tables are narrow, and the floor is already cluttered with boxes overflowing with books; you’ll be able to navigate better without the stroller, and won’t get evil glares from the people you’re blocking (ahem).