Sunday, March 19, 2006
No Story Time, But a Book Sale  

Yesterday, I had hoped to take my eighteen-month old daughter to the local library for story time. Unfortunately, when we arrived a little after 11 AM at the library, we learned that there was no story time that day. And contrary to what is posted on the library Web site, I learned that she would need to be signed up to be able to participate. However, there is an open story time at another branch on Mondays at 11 AM. Given that the only time is on a weekday, I was a little disappointed that we would not be able to share a little father-daughter time on Saturday mornings at story time.

However, all was not a loss. I realized, as I pulled up at the library, that the annual book sale was taking place. The book sale is put on by a volunteer association to raise money for the library which consists of several branches spread out over the county. I cannot speak to other book sales, but this one is rather a serious event. Where I live, prides itself as being quite a learned place, and it once was ranked as the top-ranked U.S. city for reading. Not long from now there will be the annual book festival. All this adds up to the great anticipation and action which takes place at the book sale.

The basement of the library, which is not a large space to begin with, is filled with closely packed metal shelves that are groaning under the weight of all of the used books. It is difficult to navigate your way around because people are filling in every possible area that has been left free by the bookshelves. Some are standing. Others are kneeling. Some sitting. Then there are those who are collapsed on the floor in exhaustion with their carton, which is filled with their treasures, sitting close by for fear of losing one or two items.

The sale actually takes place over three weekends, and there are literally thousands and thousands of books. At times it gets a bit ridiculous as people become rude and even cutthroat in trying to get books off the shelves. It is good that I had forgotten about that. Otherwise, I might simply have turned away.

Throughout any given day, the volunteers are constantly adding new books. For some this might be a point of frustration, but I have learned simply not to worry too much about it. I figure that if there is a book that I need to find, I will find it.

My wife is never very thrilled to hear about this book sale because she reasons that I am simply adding more dusty or dirty books to our collection of books. She has a point. One of the books I did purchase seems that it spent some time in the home of a smoker because it smells of cigarette smoke. Nonetheless, my wife tolerates my occasional purchase of several used books. From my perspective, I have become much more disciplined, and I try to think whether any given book I am considering to purchase is really something I want or would ever read. This year I left with about seven books. The books I purchased were several books on the saints for my daughter, one book on the rosary, a book by Father Groeschel, and a book with the documents of Vatican II.

My daughter thought it was quite amusing to see all of these people packed into this small area. She was also thrilled to see bookshelves lined with books because this is a game with which she is very familiar. We have a book shelf in the basement which she likes to empty and then stack the books in various places around the room. I think that because we were not a home she did not decide to empty the shelves, and I only had to keep her from pulling off a few books.

When I gave her one book to hold she proceeded to do her imitation of reading which is to turn the pages and make what to her are sounds of reading. She also chewed on another one which guaranteed that I would be leaving with it. Finally, we stood in line to buy the books. Compared to to everyone else, what we had was quite a modest purchase. One man in front of us had several moving boxes full of books. Others were clearly only on round one, and who knows how many rounds there would be.

I was wondering how long the line would take, and I thought that there should be an express line for folks like me who did not come with a large plastic bin to be filled. My daughter was content to stand next to me with one hand in mine and the other clutching the copy of the Vatican II documents. This was amusing to some who saw her. I was, of course, thrilled that she had chosen that book as the one she wanted to carry while waiting in line. It shows that she is already very serious about her faith.

Posted by David at 6:21 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 


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