Friday, April 30, 2010

Excellent Book to Read

The blogger is a regular and frequent user of the Fairfax County Library System. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, the blogger is thrifty. Unless a book is very inexpensive (or better - free on loan), the blogger struggles with paying full price.  Second, the blogger does not like clutter. So unless a book is worth keeping, it goes out of the house. And third, the blogger has found that there are very few books worth rereading.

However, some of them DO hold up over time. The P.G. Wodehouse books, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series, and P.D. James are good examples. But most books that have been published in the last ten years or so are a one-time read and then "good-bye!"

That's why the book sale is so great. While there, the blogger located an Advanced Reading Copy of Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin and grabbed it. It cost ONE WHOLE DOLLAR!

Having just finished reading it, the blogger can say that it was, hands down, the best book she has read in 2010. And it is worth keeping.

The setting of the book is in Kigali, Rwanda, where many people from different countries have come to help Rwanda on the path to reconciliation after the terrible genocide. The central character, Angel, bakes cakes for all kinds of people who are celebrating all kinds of special occasions. Angel and her husband Pius, a university professor, are Tanzanian, and the parents of their five grandchildren whose parents are deceased. The way Angel mothers the children, and everyone else who crosses her path, is amazingly compassionate, yet not the least bit over-indulgent.  Rather than judging people who are different from her, Angel personifies love, even as she struggles to understand the differences.

The two non-human characters that shape this book are the genocide of 1994 and AIDS. The genocide is a backdrop for the situations Angel's customers and neighbors find themselves in, and "the virus" is the unspoken fear of Angel and Pius, and of all who live around them. The fear forms a curtain which finally must be pushed aside as people seek to re-establish the basic values of humanity. Author Gaile Parkin weaves these themes throughout Angel's interactions with her customers and friends, always focusing on the hope.  She does it so beautifully that the blogger had tears in her eyes from laughter, sorrow, and joy.

This book is a keeper AND one you want to loan, so when you come to the Fall Book Sale looking for it (September 22-26), grab a copy for a friend too.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sale Finished - Bargains Continue

Our huge Semi-Annual Used Book Sale is finished but that doesn't mean the bargains are gone.

First, we have an ongoing sale that occurs whenever the library is open. The shelves containing those books for sale are located down the front hall in the alcove next to the pay phones/water fountains and between the bathrooms. There are even magazines opposite the alcove! The prices are the same as the book sale - $1.50 for hardback, $1.00 for trade paperback, unless marked otherwise. The way this works is that you make your selection and pay for them at the front desk. The shelves are restocked weekly, but you'll have to figure out for yourself which day has the 'freshest' books - it's part of the challenge of treasure hunting!

Second, we have a site on Amazon called RestonFriends1 where we post higher value and niche books that are more likely to move with a bigger audience. You can get there by clicking on the link. If you're a current, local Friend, we can get the book to the library for you and you can avoid postage.  Currently, we have a slew of Great Courses posted there. Here are some samples:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Phew - Spring sale successful

Just a quick note. The real blogger is taking a well-deserved rest, so I thought I'd just say a quick 'thank you' to all of the patrons of our booksale, and also to the cheerful volunteers who made it all possible.

As always, we have a lot to think about in terms of what went well and what can be tweaked. We're always glad to hear your opinions, if you would care to share.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Last Chance at Great Deals!

Today (Sunday) is the last day of the Huge Semi-Annual Used Book Sale at Reston Regional Library. Brought to you by Friends of Reston Regional Library, Inc., this sale still has fresh books to offer. We are open from 1-3:30 today, and then it's wrap-up time.

So stop by and see what sparks your interest!  And don't forget the Specials Room! We were joking yesterday that we ought to rename it the "Boutique" room, because the books in there are unusual, desirable and unique!

See you then!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Record Set!

This Spring 2010 Sale is our second time experimenting with two major differences from prior years.

First, there are no children's/young adult books at our sale. Per popular demand, we have split that sale out and it occurs approximately 1 month before the Semi-Annual Huge Sale.

Second, this is the second time we've operated under different hours/days structure. This was necessitated by County Budget changes.

So, we're missing the Childrens/YA buyers, and we've spread out the days by starting on Wednesday evening (with truncated hours) and having two weekdays (Thurs/Fri) instead of just one. You'd think that would cause our numbers to drop.

Except, Thursday's sale numbers are approximately $2000 more than they were last Fall, the first time we dealt with both changes.

Wow.  This tells us a few things:

1.  Our sorters are outstanding
2.  Our book sale volunteers are awesome
3.  Our patrons are faithful, and amazing

Well done, Reston and surrounding areas! Stay tuned for the rest of the sale!

Also, we keep getting this question:
Do you do a box or bag sale the last day?



No, unlike most booksales, we are still putting out fresh, first quality used books on Sunday. Booksales that mark down often do so because they recognize that what is left by the last day of their sale is much less marketable and they have no mechanism for storage or disposal of those unsold books. At Reston Friends, we give the left-over books a good second life through charity donations, so we have no need or pressure to mark them down. Thus, we do not do a bag or box sale at the end of the sale.




If you like to shop a mark-down 'sale ending', we do recommend our sister Friends Group, at George Mason Regional Library, that does a bag half price sale on their last day.  Their book sale is next weekend.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Friends Night Success

Despite the drizzle, Friends Night at Reston Regional Library was a big success.  Before we opened the doors there were at least 60 people in line, not all of them dealers!

We're still counting the beans, but the preliminary numbers look comparable to the Fall 2009 Sale Friends Night.

We hope to see many of our friends from last night back again throughout the weekend, because as you know, we restock constantly!

For the rest of you who missed it, we open at 10 today, tomorrow, and Saturday. Sunday we open at 1.  Don't miss this great way to celebrate Earth Day - it is the ultimate recycling event!






Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tonight's The Night!

All you FRIENDS and those who want to be FRIENDS, tonight is the NIGHT to come to Reston Regional Library to get first crack at the carefully stocked tables. Books of all genre (except childrens) will greet you with an eagerness to go home in your arms.

In case this is your first time at Friends' Night, here's what happens:

When you arrive, you will see tape on the floor leading to the sales area. From one of our cheerful volunteers, you may secure a piece of tape to put your name on, then stick it on the floor in line in order. UPDATE: The marker to put your name on the tape is hanging on the sign at the head of the line. The tape "holds" your spot -- it does NOT equal entrance to the sale!

Entrance to the sale tickets start being passed out at 4:30 p.m. At that time, our volunteers will be set-up to check you in.  We will be in the front of the library, just through the entrance gate area. After we check that your membership is current, (or take your money if it's not), THAT is when you will receive a ticket to get into the sale. At 5 p.m., we will open the doors to the sale. You may enter and shop courteously and kindly. If you are rude or disturb others, we'll be gravely disappointed and will ask you to leave.

During the time you are waiting for the sale doors to open, you may shop any of the shelves and tables outside in the hallway.  That's no small choice - outside the main room we have sports/outdoors, self-help, romance, religion, foreign language, reference, sets and many of the TOPLIST specials in the display case.

Only those people with CURRENT FRIENDS MEMBERSHIP will be admitted this evening. If you don't want to purchase a membership, we'll look forward to seeing you first thing tomorrow morning at 10am!

See you this evening!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Busy, Busy!

Set-up is moving along well...preparing the best sale in the county for YOU, our faithful patrons and supporters. Here are some photos of the process yesterday.


First is Tom, one of our most faithful of set-up volunteers. He has perfected the system of getting the sign up on the front of the library. Notice the dark glasses and gloves. The man is just too cool.




This is the shed, halfway emptied. Notice the orderly stacking? That is due to our super organizer, Norbert.


These gentlemen are the movers who take the piles and piles of boxes from our shed in back of the library into the various places inside. Their employer is our great friend Greg Burton who is a patron, Friend, and apparently a great employer. The guys who come from his company during set-up each sale are friendly and hard-working.  We've had lousy weather and they've just worked on through. Fortunately, yesterday's weather was PERFECT for this! We haven't always been so lucky.




Monday, April 19, 2010

Day After Tomorrow


When I was a little kid, my parents bought off my "when is Christmas?" with various phrases. They ranged from "a long time away" when I asked in the first quarter of the year to "pretty soon" if I asked in December. By the time we got to "day after tomorrow" I was so wound up with excitement and glee that phrase became embued with magic.

Well, I almost feel as excited about Day After Tomorrow today. It's not Christmas, but it is a GREAT opportunity to feel like it's a big party! On Wednesday evening, all of our Friends will gather for a frenzy of book shopping. That night, the people who are able to make a bigger commitment to supporting the Reston Library (it's only $15 annually), will be able to shop 'first dibs' on Friends Night. (Join by clicking the button on the sidebar)

But wait (as they say on TV), that's not all!  Beginning Thursday morning at 10, EVERYONE gets to party!

Our booksale is famous for being friendly, well-stocked and reasonably priced. So come and join us whichever day your schedule permits. And don't think that attending one day is enough.  We restock CONSTANTLY, sometimes by bringing in an entire flat, and sometimes by working in armfuls at a time so we don't disturb the shoppers. You never know what bargain treasure will pop up next to you on a table!




Friends' Night
WEDNESDAY, April 21
5-7:30 pm
membership required,
available for purchase at door,
highly recommend you do it now
via the JOIN button on the sidebar!

General Public Hours
THURSDAY & FRIDAY, 
April 22-23; 10-5

SATURDAY
April 24; 10-4

SUNDAY
April 25; 1-3:30

Friday, April 16, 2010

A New Face at Reston Regional

This past Monday, our branch of the Fairfax County Public Library System received a new Assistant Manager. James Cahill comes to us from the branch at Lorton, and we're all happy he's here!  (Although the Friends had to get all our junk out of his office where we had stored it. Trust me, any available space at our library rapidly gets taken over by our Friends Group! We're kinda like kudzu, but in a good way that generates money.)

At any rate, welcome James!


Photo by Darlene

Thursday, April 15, 2010

More Special Photos

Worlds gone awry -- one non-fiction and one fiction. Both available at the Semi Annual Used Book Sale beginning next WEDNESDAY APRIL 21 with Friends Night (memberships available for purchase).








And now for something completely different:





Interested?  E-mail us!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Hunt is ON!


To recap the FAQ about the Specials Room:


NOTE: Scanners are NOT allowed in the Specials Room

What is the Specials Room?

This is the small room where we have located higher value books ($5 and up – the vast majority $7 and under). ON FRIENDS NIGHT (April 21), patrons may select up to 40 items at a time, have them processed, paid for, and taken to their car, and then return and repeat as often as needed throughout preview night.  Due to the small space, patrons will be asked to leave other boxes, bags and books outside the Specials Room throughout the sale. 

What are some typical books located in the Specials Room?

You can see a selection of the books offered by viewing our Toplist.  This list is just a drop in the bucket of what we have there.

Why do you take so much information when I’ve selected Specials Room books?

We do it because it clearly helps us to run a better sale for the shopper, not just at this sale but future ones as well.  By knowing that a particular scarce item has sold already, the less likely we'll be to keep looking for it when another customer asks about it later!  More importantly, we learn about what subject categories are most sought after by our patrons.  And of course, that contact info routinely allows us to contact a buyer who's forgotten to pick up the precious bag of selections at checkout time (unfortunately happens every sale, and multiple times, too)

Many of the specials books are on the Toplist. And some have come to light since even the Toplist was formulated! It is always a treasure hunt in there!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like

BOOKSALE!

Friends' Night
WEDNESDAY, April 21
5-7:30 pm
membership required,
available for purchase at door,
highly recommend you do it now
via the JOIN button on the sidebar!

General Public Hours
THURSDAY & FRIDAY, 
April 22-23; 10-5

SATURDAY
April 24; 10-4

SUNDAY
April 25; 1-3:30


Come give this woman your money!

Monday, April 12, 2010

FAQ - Composer Smacks Head!

In being so careful to formulate the FAQ's we forgot that some people haven't been following the blog for a months or years.  Here is a question received, and the answer:

Will there be children's books at these sales?


No, last year we decided to separate the Childrens & Young Adults books from the Semi-Annual Book Sale and hold a specific sale for those items about a month before the Semi-Annual Sale. We did that last fall, and again in March this year and it was very successful. So there will be NO children's books at this sale, except for collectibles that might be in the specials room.

The best way to maintain current information about Reston Friends of the Library sales is to follow our blog. You can do this by clicking the "FOLLOW" link at the top of the blog on the left (next to Search).  Clicking it will allow you to follow publicly or anonymously.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring 2010 Book Sale FAQ, Part II


This is part II of the FAQ's for the Spring 2010 Book Sale. If you missed Part I yesterday, scroll down. If you want to see the whole thing at once, or to be able to print your own copy, click on this link to Google Docs. If you have more questions than we've answered, please e-mail us!

What’s in the Display Case?

A variety of eye-catching and specialty books that might require a little more gentle handling than those on the shelves in the Specials Room.  NOTE: Display case items are sometimes ready to appear as soon as MONDAY, April 19.

Do you have books “held back”?

There are a certain number of higher value books that we have available for scrutiny and purchase which we do not put in the Specials Room. This is largely due to concern for their condition. As you probably know, in collectible books, condition plus scarcity is everything. Let us know if there is something particular you are looking for.

What are the advantages of becoming a Friends Member?

First and foremost, you can enter the sale on Friends Night, April 21, 5-7:30 p.m.  While we restock the sale all week, the best of the Specials Room books are available that night.

Second, for Friends members with specialty subject interests, we are sometimes able to identify a few available titles that are not shown on the toplist.  Tell us what you collect, and we’ll keep it in mind as we accrue donations between sales.

GREAT! How do I become a Member?

The easiest way is to click on the button to join (top of the sidebar on the right). That will take you through a process to join. Then on Friends night, you show up, check in, and will receive a ticket to enter.  If you wait until Friends Night to join, you will spend more time at the check-in table as we have to get the information from you along with your check. Spend less time IN LINE by doing it ON LINE.

Why do you allow Dealers?

Dealers are customers just like anyone else. We value our relationships with all of our customers as long as everyone behaves in an adult manner. Believe it or not, some of the most egregious behavior does NOT come from dealers. By the same token, we do not have a special “Dealers Night” like some book sales do because we do not value the dealers any more than our other customers, and vice-versa.

What are the sale hours?

Friends Night (membership required) April 21, 5-7:30 p.m.
Thursday & Friday, April 22-23, 10-5
Saturday, April 24, 10-4
Sunday, April 25, 1-3:30

What kind of accessibility do you provide for disabled people?

Our aisles are measured and tables placed exactly to comply with Fire Marshall requirements for safety. If you need a walker or wheelchair, we are happy to accommodate you by offering you a chance to come shop for a short time before we open to the public. Please understand that to access this opportunity you need to contact us first. You can do so by e-mailing us at restonfriendspr@gmail.com or contacting someone at the library.

That said, per Fire Marshall rules, we cannot accommodate strollers. Please consider carefully whether your child or children are the type that can wait quietly for you to finish shopping. If they are likely to create a disturbance for other patrons, please reconsider bringing them. Our major concern is their safety -- people carrying boxes, bags or piles of books often do not see little ones under their feet.

Finally, we want to make the book sale a pleasant experience for everyone involved. If you have concerns, suggestions or questions, please communicate them to our e-mail address and we’ll answer as soon as we’re able. Thank you for helping us to make the Reston Used Book Sale the best in town!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring 2010 Book Sale FAQ

Today we'll post the first half of the FAQ's. We've also posted them through Google Docs. So if you can't resist, you can look at the whole list by clicking the link. If you want to wait, the rest will be posted tomorrow.

SPRING 2010 SEMI-ANNUAL BOOKSALE FAQ

The Friends of Reston Regional Library welcome all of you to the sale.  Our goal is for EVERYONE to enjoy the sale and to have a fair chance to find what they want. To that end, we have a few rules, which if everyone can follow them, will help all of us.

Why do you have so many more fiction than non-fiction books?

We don't!  Yes, adult fiction is the largest single subject category at the semi-annual sales.... as measured by "volume" (cubic feet!).  However, when all fiction is toted up (fiction plus sci fi plus romance plus lit, etc.), the total number of boxes is well below half.  So therefore all non-fiction (history, self help, cooking, religion, etc.) is clearly well above half.

But what the Friends have sorted through and stashed in our storage shed isn't the whole story either.  The way that the Friends have allocated selling square footage in the building (the two rows of fiction tables, plus the zones for sci fi, romance, lit) confirms that fiction again represents well below half of what's allocated. . . and what happy shoppers get to browse through at any given time during the sale itself.

What forms of payment do you take?

Cash and checks with valid information and phone number.  If you’ve written us a bad check in the past, cash only.

What are the rules for dealers/high volume buyers?

First, remember our goal from above.  In that vein,

a)      No bulk buying allowed until Sunday at 2pm. That means no sweeping of books from the tables into plastic bags.
b)    We allow you to buy as many TOTAL boxes (standard size/postal size) as you wish.  However, each time you accrue 6 boxes, we ask that you check out and take them to your car; and return as time permits.  We are very short on space, so if you can get your books out to your vehicle in chunks, it lessens the chance another patron will not recognize them as ‘taken’ or even ‘sold’ and start going through them.

Do you allow scanners?

Scanners are allowed on the main floor as long as one abides by the rules and behaves in an orderly fashion. We will ask people who cannot behave in an orderly manner to leave.  Should the use of scanners cause a disruption, we will ask you to put it away. We ask that you mind your manners – do not snatch books out of people's hands.

NOTE: Scanners are NOT allowed in the Specials Room

What is the Specials Room?

This is the small room where we have located higher value books ($5 and up – the vast majority $7 and under). ON FRIENDS NIGHT (April 21), patrons may select up to 40 items at a time, have them processed, paid for, and taken to their car, and then return and repeat as often as needed throughout preview night.  Due to the small space, patrons will be asked to leave other boxes, bags and books outside the Specials Room throughout the sale. 

What are some typical books located in the Specials Room?

You can see a selection of the books offered by viewing our Toplist.  This list is just a drop in the bucket of what we have there.

Why do you take so much information when I’ve selected Specials Room books?

We do it because it clearly helps us to run a better sale for the shopper, not just at this sale but future ones as well.  By knowing that a particular scarce item has sold already, the less likely we'll be to keep looking for it when another customer asks about it later!  More importantly, we learn about what subject categories are most sought after by our patrons.  And of course, that contact info routinely allows us to contact a buyer who's forgotten to pick up the precious bag of selections at checkout time (unfortunately happens every sale, and multiple times, too)

See you tomorrow for Part II

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More Toplist Treasures

If you haven't marked your calendars, and renewed your Friends membership, you ought to do so TODAY. You can renew or purchase a membership by clicking the button on the top of the sidebar. The one that says "JOIN"...

To mark your calendar, put in these times and dates:

Friends Night
Wednesday, 21 April, 5-7:30 p.m.

General Public
Thursday & Friday, 22-23 April, 10-5
Saturday, 24 April, 10-4
Sunday, 25 April, 1-3:30

We'll be posting some FAQ's about the sale soon. There are some new guidelines, so watch for those!

Here are some more views of Toplist and Specials Items.  Photos by Darlene




Below, the inscription presentation for the Belle Boyd book. Incredible...







Intrigued? Interested?  E-mail us! 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Autographed Treasures

We have quite a few signed books on our Toplist for the Spring Semi-Annual Used Book sale (begins with Friends Night on April 21, 5-7:30 pm).  If any of these tickle your fancy, e-mail us!

We've already featured the signed Joan Miro.  We also have:








The Sunflower, signed by author Simon Wiesenthal.  $30


Stated First Edition, Signed by Garland AND actor Sterling Hayden    $35


T.E. Lawrence to His Biographer, Robert Graves: Information About Himself, in the Form of Letters, Notes and Answer to Questions, Edited With A Critical Commentary
Stated First Edition, limited edition signed by author (Graves)    $75


There are six more signed books on hand -- check the Toplist for details!

Photos by Darlene