When the Friends of the Hockessin Library decided to cancel their annual book sale, they started having smaller pop-up sales in the library itself.
To the members’ surprise, they like it better.
Not only do they not have to worry about setting up, running and closing down the sale, which required about 200 volunteers, the new book sales seem more intimate.
“And more manageable,” said Linda Lauria, chair of the sale. “I think it’s become more of a local community event.”
Many people enjoyed the large sale, and a large group of dealers from multiple states were always the first in the door, she said.
The first night of the sale — for members only — had become extremely crowded partly because memberships were sold at the door, which meant dealers and others could join and come in.
The dealers, she said, fell into two groups. One were book dealers really interested in the books. The other were book sellers who came in with scanners and only cared about the price and whether they could make a few bucks on the books at their own shops.
What book sales pay for
Many members stopped coming that night, she said.
At the same time, Lauria said, it was getting harder and harder to get the number of volunteers they needed to run the big sale.
“And it was way bigger than we needed to meet the mission of our organization,” she said.
The organization pays for equipment and other things that aren’t covered in the library’s New Castle County budget.
The association recently paid for a new magazine shelf for the library and last summer installed an outdoor memorial bench carved to look like it’s a stack of popular books.
The Friends also help pay for summer reading programs for children and adults and supports staff members by paying for things such as professional memberships.
The annual sale brought in about $30,000, after costs including renting the hall and tables, security and even credit card machines.
The new sales are held each quarter and bring in about $2,500.
It’s enough, Lauria said.
“They’re well received, and what they’re making is basically enough to meet the needs of our organization,” Lauria said. “We have a good reserve, so we can can do these smaller sales and still fund everything we were doing in the past.”
The smaller sales actually started several years ago with a sale of Christmas titles at the start of the holidays, Lauria said.
Many people donate books related to Christmas, but they don’t sell at other times of the year, including the big sales in January, she said.
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The books proved popular in their own sale at the right time of the year. The first holiday book sale made $100, the second made $200.
Last November, they expanded it to include better quality books and made $1,500.
The next pop-up sale will be Friday, Sept. 9, and Saturday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Theboo9k sale accepts only cash or checks for its gently used titles.
Titles include mysteries, thrillers, nonfiction, biography, history and cooking.
The sales are held in the library’s community room.
“We have not ruled out having future big sales but right now we’re just seeing how these go,” Lauria said.
COVID-19 is still an issue for many people, and most of the Friends volunteers are older people who no longer have to work during the day, which is when the sales are.
“But right now, the quarterly sales are much more manageable,” Lauria said, “And the feedback we’re getting from local people is that they really like this option.”
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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