I don't have pictures this time but I have mental images so I will try to convey them.
First, today was a beautiful day. It was great to be outside. I hope that the people who waited in line enjoyed the weather, the warmth and the sun after our four days of gray and drizzle last week end. I understand we have some more of the gray and wet coming so whenever I could get outside today, I savored it.
Second, the people were beautiful. We had some last minute volunteers. They provided much needed hands in running the sale. Two were two college students. I was impressed that these two young people would clear a full evening to volunteer.
I worked with some of the school-age volunteers, many of whom were getting some of their required community service hours with us. Two charming girls from Queen of Apostles handed out maps to people waiting in line and conducted an informal survey. We are trying to learn how to reach potential customers better. Two eager young men searched for books. Another young woman helped take purchases to people's cars. Another young man helped to keep the sales floor looking good. Anyone who has ever been to any kind of sale knows how things can get haphazard in a hurry so no one can find anything. Wednesday afternoon, another young woman helped me for an hour as we finally got price cards on books in a display case. Their help was much appreciated.
Did you notice in the last paragraph when I said that two young men searched for books? We have people in each area who will help customers find something in particular. Sometimes, a student is looking for a book for school. Sometimes, another book by a favorite author is wanted. We enjoy helping in the search for those requests.
Their search was for a different purpose. To give some background, the George Mason Friends do not give cash money to either George Mason Regional Library or Fairfax County Public Library to buy books to add to the collection. What we will do is give donated books to the library instead of selling them. In particular, at George Mason, when a staff member finds that a copy has just worn out but is still being circulated, we will search for a replacement copy. Tonight, these young men did that difficult search and came up with a number of books which will replace a worn out book in the collection. Our way of maintaining the collection is growing in importance given the 50% cut to the budget for the collection in FY2010 and the expectation of even deeper cuts to the budget in FY2011.
Finally, the books are beautiful. I read a lot. I see a fair percentage of the books that go into the sale as I work with them for the six months between sales. Still, at every sale without exception, I will see a customer buy a book that I might have bought if I had seen it first. Sometimes, the item might be a book by an author not commonly found in FCPL libraries. George Garrett comes to mind. Sometimes, the item is a music CD. Sometimes, it is a video. I just discovered a British production whose main characters are gardeners. Sometimes, the happy purchaser clues me in on a new author or musician or movie.
Tomorrow is day 2. The tables of books are still full. Hope to see you there.