Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Friends of SFPL Big Book Sale 2018, part 1: Prep and preview

Yes indeed, it's that time of year again. Actually, rather later in the year than usual, due to scheduling issues, but better late than never. Tuesday afternoon was the Members' Preview of this year's Friends of the San Francisco Library Big Book Sale, which is always a fun and fascinating experience. I just realized that I have posted about all the Friends book sales since the fall of 2013 (see here), though I had attended several before that.

I plan to post about my acquisitions (a bit disappointing, but still exciting) later on in the week or over the weekend, but today I wanted to hurry and share a bit of a preview and remind anyone who lives in the Bay Area and is reading this that they need to get to Fort Mason post haste.

Thanks to Lisa Gayton, who works for the Friends and just happens to be a reader of this blog, Andy and I were able, a couple of weeks ago, to visit the Friends of SFPL donation center and get a behind the scenes look at the awe-inspiring stacks of boxes and boxes and boxes of books being sorted and prepped for the sale. At the time, we were on our way to the gym, so I wasn't really camera-ready, but Andy insisted on snapping a pic of Lisa and me outside the donation center. What was I thinking wearing horizontal stripes?!?!

(By the way, if you do live in the Bay Area and don't already know it, do consider donating your overflow books to this excellent cause. Here is info about donating books, and of course you can also support the organization by becoming a member, with all the benefits—including tickets to the book sale preview—membership confers.)

Inside the donation center, well, just wow! Not only an astonishing volume of books—Andy had to hold me back from just diving right into the middle of them—but also an amazingly well-organized system for sorting the books, boxing them up, and stashing them in such a way that they can easily be moved into the proper places at Fort Mason. Here's a peek:

Lisa assured me, by the way, that the building—particularly the loft space—had undergone rigorous testing and appropriate reinforcement to ensure that it's completely safe for supporting the weight of hundreds of thousands of books. This is an earthquake zone, after all!

Then, yesterday afternoon, as the line began to grow outside, we were able—thanks to Lisa again—to sneak into the pavilion and get some wonderful pictures of the pristine tables of books, not yet rifled through by the masses. It's always so tantalizing seeing the sale this way. It inspires such anticipation of joyous shopping ahead!

I also got the pleasure of seeing Deborah from the delightful Book Barmy blog again. Deborah volunteers at the Fort Mason Readers Bookstore operated by the Friends of SFPL, and I met her there last year. This year, though, she was volunteering at the sale itself, and she'll get a special mention in the next post. There will, of course, also be details about my acquisitions, but it will have to wait until I've recovered a bit more. How is it that merely standing and browsing through tables of books for three hours can be more exhausting than a full gym workout?!?!

But if you're in or anywhere near the Bay Area, just imagine how nice it would feel for you to be similarly exhausted, and have a nice big stack of books beside you at that!


  1. Every year your book sale reports fill me with envy. There is nothing like those sales near me.
    Look forward to reading about what you got.

  2. Oh dear.... Scott, you're peddling book porn again.

  3. I love it! The Eagle Rock Library had their sale last Saturday - naturally it is NOTHING like yours! - but it still thrills me to work that sale and see people clamoring to get hold of real, genuine books! And the children - I tell you, it does a librarian's heart good!
    But this one - WOW - is this what parts of Heaven may be like?

  4. I have volunteered at lots of Friends of the Library book sales and attended lots of them also, and sometimes done a bit of both. But never any quite as large as this one. What fun, and thanks for sharing.


  5. Look forward to reading more about your book acquisitions!


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