Bookworms of the world rejoice

On the third weekend of July, bookworms from all over invade the grounds of the Pettes Memorial Library in Knowlton, looking for a major fix of second-hand books.

It all started more than 20 years ago, when Sheila Parsons persuaded her colleagues on the Board of Directors to organise a fundraising sale of library and donated books under a tent in mid- summer.

The kernel of any such sale takes root as the previous one ends, explained Jana Valasek, director general.

Books are deposited at the library year round in the wake of downsizings, spring cleanings, moves, books bouncing back from the year before, in batches of a few boxes or by the “trunk” load.

The library has two year-round volunteer sorters who group books and pack by categories (literature, mysteries, history, fiction, romance, cooking, travel, children, photography and so on) for storage on site, as well as off site with transportation help from public-works employees.

On the morning before the sale, said Suzane Ricard, the board members co-ordinating the event and 12 volunteers load up innumerable tables in a 40ft x 60ft tent. Two teams of ten volunteers, morning and afternoon, each day, supervise the reloading of tables, sales and general circulation of bookworms, as well as sales in the basement of the library. Overall, this major event occupies a solid 300 volunteer hours a year. Unsold books are donated to various non-profit organizations, seniors’ residences.etc