How to Survive The Library Book Sale

How to Survive The Library Book Sale

It’s intense, people; you don’t even know. I’m talkin’ shoving grannies and kickin’ butt. Just kidding! I do take the semiannual library book sale very seriously but it isn’t a life or death situation, unlike Black Friday. It is nice to go at your own pace during this otherwise crazy shopping time. I’ve put together a list of things I’ve learned about attending the library book sale and realistic tips to stick to, to ensure the best outcome for you.

I don’t know where you live but my library has a sale twice a year, each last for three days so I always try to be ready. It doesn’t always work out and it takes a little forethought. You’ll never have to camp out though. Whew. Over the course of the year, books are either donated or just appear (I’ve never looked into it) and then sold for very little money to benefit the library. The library in my town offers so many activities to the community and it is only right that we give back. They have little play classes for babies, reading clubs for teens, regular yoga and craft classes, as well as giving out free passes to local museums. I grew up sitting in the aisles in the children’s section, a book between my lap because I was too impatient to actually walk to a seat. Anyway, on to the tips…

1. Go with a clear head. I learned this the hard way one year when I went with a wicked hangover. I couldn’t focus and was in no mood to fiddle through tables and tables of books, especially because I was sick to my stomach.

2. Wear a cute, but comfortable pair of flats that you probably couldn’t fall over in. You may be heaving some pretty heavy books and even if your heels feel stable, you’ll be balancing some extra weight on one arm and it could really throw off your balance. The last thing you want is a broken ankle. Medical care is expensive and perhaps even worse, the EMTs on the ambulance probably won’t let you take your books. It’s a big deal.

3. Wear pants that fit perfectly. The last thing you want to do is be hitching up your jeans when you’re trying to hold a lot of books.

4. Wear a cute top and a cardigan. This is a very important two-parter. The top should have an average dip neckline. Sometimes you’ll have to balance a stack of books against your chest and if the books are lowered, your top is going with it. Wear any necklaces short, to avoid said issue and also because even though you’re at a library doesn’t mean you have to look boring. The cardigan comes in handy because it is better than a jacket. Why? Carrying around a coat isn’t ideal because it takes up precious arm real estate that could be holding books. Even though it’s a November in New York, deal with it. Sacrifice.

5. Leave your purse (hidden) in the car. I wear skinny jeans and they just about fit my money and my car keys. Cell phone? Wallet? Lipstick? Leave it in the car. You shouldn’t be using your phone in a library anyway. SHHH!

6. If you have reusable bags (and you should, what are you a caveman?), now is the time to NOT FORGET THEM. I use my Baggus and they are not only bigger than the flimsy plastic bags that library would otherwise give you, but they have reinforced and thicker handles that won’t cut your arm in half. Also, fabric is generally more sturdy than plastic and books (taking it back to first grade here) have sharp edges that can tear through a bag before you even get to the parking lot.

7. Make multiple trips. You may feel like Wonderwoman with all the good you are doing by reusing books and donating money, but don’t throw out your back. Also, multiple trips lets you buy even more books! Yay! I picked out the biggest books first, paid, and brought them to the car. I emptied my Baggus and went back in for more, smaller books. On Saturday, I am going back because they have this whole fill-up-a-plastic-bag-for-2-dollars deal and I like to get my swimming students books as little holiday gifts. It is still a good idea to bring a reusable bag for reinforcement when that plastic bag inevitably tears open in the middle of the parking lot.

8. Before you leave the car, take another $20 out of your wallet. You never know what you’ll see. Don’t limit yourself.

9. Wear a bra that allows for a full range of arm movement. Balconettes are not such a good idea in this case, as their straps are usually fairly far apart and can really start to dig in if your holding your arms in front of you for a long time. If you are sorting through and holding books, you’ll be doing a lot of this.

10. Be nice. Everyone there is just shopping for knowledge, just like you. If someone needs help finding something and you happened to see the subject of book they are looking for, let them know. Some people don’t have the patience or the time to look through everything themselves. By giving them a direction, not only are you being kind but you’re also clearing the floor for more customer movement.

Finally, you can go home and smell your books. That’s what everyone does, right?


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