If you thought you saw great sales on books when Borders was going out of business, think again. The Fort Lee Library truly put the word "sale" in "Book Sale" when it held its annual one Saturday and Sunday.
Although the library held book sales long ago, the event ended up going on hiatus until the library board of trustees decided to renovate the process. Paige Soltano, who was appointed by the former Fort Lee Mayor Jack Alter as the president of the of library’s board of trustees, had a large hand in helping reintroduce the sale. Three years ago it was successfully brought back to the community, and has been going strong ever since.
“It gets better every year,” Soltano said.
Soltano told Patch that although the expected profit from the sale is a nominal amount, it will be helping the library, and ultimately, the community.
Fort Lee Councilman and library board treasurer Joseph Cervieri Jr. also told Patch what some of the funds will go toward.
”We’re looking at better utilization of space in the library,” he said. “We’re looking at how the library is going to be used today and for the next five to ten years. Because libraries have changed in the way that people use them. You have a lot more demand for computer space and for workstations and things like that.”
Cervieri explained that the reference area, which is now a large area, could potentially be made smaller so that the multimedia area on the main floor could be expanded. Also, the downstairs kitchen and meeting room could potentially be transformed into a mini coffee shop café for people who want to stay in the library while they read.
The books, CDs and DVDs for book sale filled the library’s downstairs meeting room, helpfully arranged on tables and wall shelves by type (paperback or hardcover) or, even better, by genre. Biographies, non-fiction and health/cooking books were separated from the other hodgepodge collections, all of which contained new titles, classics, well-known authors and lesser-known golden finds. Outside the library’s back entrance, directly in front of the children room, were three enormous tables filled with racks of children’s books.
The books for sale come from a variety of sources. Some were weeded out of the library’s circulation while others were donated by members of the community. Only “gently used” donations were used for the sale, so all the books were in readable condition. Books that were overworked, falling apart or just too battered were not put on the racks. Others were donated from the Borders Books on Schlosser Street, which closed its doors to the community for the last time in April.
Marilyn Fishkin, director of Circulation at the library, told Patch that this year’s book sale went very well.
“We’ve have a pretty good crowd through the doors already,” she said.
Fishkin explained that although they receive hundreds of donated books a year, not every book makes it into the sale.
“Throughout the year we always get donations…nobody wants to throw away books,” she said.
Prices were quite fair--50 cents for paperbacks, a dollar for hardcovers and $10 to fill an entire totebag (which was provided). Adults and children were pouring over the racks and stuffing title after title into the totes. People were screaming to each other from across the room. “Grab another bag!” “You want another bag?” “YES, grab another bag!”
Patch had the pleasure of speaking to two young sisters from Fort Lee’s School No. 1 who were at the book sale with their father, Jeff Ryu. First grader Casey Ryu, 6, and second grader Calix Ryu, 8, were each holding an armful of books when they told Patch how much fun they were having.
“I really love the library,” Calix said. “We come here every Saturday for our tutor and it’s a really great place. It’s a lot of fun just to sit and read."
Casey told Patch she got so many books this year at the sale, she “couldn’t even remember.”
”She got so many!” Calix interjected. “She got like forty-three….twenty-seven…FORTY-TWO books.”
Leftover books are going to be donated to the Salvation Army. Cervieri also said that the library is going to “let the Salvation Army know” that a good amount of the books will also be shipped overseas to underprivileged children who do not have books to read.
Overall it was a true community event, complete with parents and children, friends, and couples coming out to scavenge through the tables of books.
“It’s a real community effort,” Cervieri said. “It’s nice to see kids with books where they’re actually going to read them, and being excited.”
”The support from the community is just fantastic,” Fishkin told Patch. “We greatly appreciate it.”