ITHACA, N.Y. — Book readers, sniffers and lovers can rejoice this weekend as the fall Friends of the Library book sale kicks off with around 271,000 donated items to browse.

Volunteers spend months sorting books, games, DVDs and CDs into 80 categories for people to buy at the semiannual sale, which offers bargain prices for the items to help fund the Tompkins County Library, the Finger Lakes Library System, and other community organizations.

“It takes a lot of people — I believe the stats are something like 200 volunteers working 11,000 hours — from about three weeks or so after the last sale (when) we start accepting books,” said Susan Bryson Earle, a volunteer for about the past seven years. “We have people who’ve been there 20, 30 years (volunteering). It’s amazing.”

For this sale, there will be a special circus section that was prompted by an unusual donation.

“It’s just because of the donation of books — somebody had a bit of a collection and they gave it all to us,” said Earle. “We’re always looking to feature something to make each sale a little different.”

After the donation, sorters set aside books, games and movies related to the circus theme to build it up even more.

Then, the Community School of Music and Arts donated student art work from the annual summer camp. Attendees ages 6 to 9 were enrolled in the Arts All Around You camp and made the project during Big Top on Broadway Week.

The book sale happens every year at the recently named Regina C. Lennox Book Sale Building, located at 509 Etsy St. and will be open from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays until Oct. 24. On opening day this Saturday, however, sales start at 8 a.m.

Additional sale days provide additional discounts for customers, including:

  •  Senior Day 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Oct. 18
  • Student Night from 3 – 8 p.m. on Oct. 18
  • Bag Day Oct. 24 (All items that in a provide plastic bag cost $1 per bag.)

New books for donation will not be accepted until Nov. 11.

Earle said that as a volunteers, people contribute in a lot of different ways including sorting books, doing publicity, and working at the registers, which is her personal favorite.

That’s my favorite thing is volunteering at the sale to have people come through and have somebody show me the treasure they’ve found that they’re so excited about,” Earle said. “People who are digging into their purse to find one more quarter for…more books and just so excited at the bargain they’re getting.”

For more information about the book sale, visit the Friends of the Tompkins County Public Library here. 

Photos provided