By DENISE HERSCHEL
There are always thousands of books available in all categories from fiction and biography to classic literature and history at the annual Friends of the Township of Ocean Public Library sale.
This year’s event takes place Wed., April 19 and Thurs., April 20 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day.
Held twice a year, once in the spring and once in the summer, the Friends-sponsored event never disappoints as regulars flock to add more books to their home library and new attendees browse for a few good reads.
“We seem to get the most people out at these times. People buy for the beach and summer reading and also to stock up in the spring,” Friends President Claire Steimle said. “We have been holding the sale for the past 15 to 20 years. Our spring sale is very popular because this is the first sale featuring the newest items we received during our most recent book donation day in the fall. Our summer sale is popular because of the increase in summer residents who come looking for reading for their entire families.”
Phyllis Fyfe, Vice President of Friends, said that the group does not keep an official count but that she believes more than 100 people attend the two-day sale.
“We have thousands of books – fiction, non-fiction, pets, gardening, biography, history, sports, classic literature, parenting and crafts. We have been given an extensive collection of cookbooks. We have young children’s books and this year a special collection of books for the tweens. Some of the books come from the library however a majority come from donations during our Fall Book donation day,” she added.
Mickey Manna, Recording Secretary for Friends, said that the group is currently not taking book donations but does hold a Book Donation Day in the fall when township residents can come to the library parking lot and donate books in good condition.
“We don’t take donations regularly throughout the year because our storage space is limited. We take gently used books and ask donors to consider donating the types and conditions of books that they would buy,” she said.
At the present time the book sale is Friend’s biggest and only fundraiser, according to Fyfe.
“It is labor intensive as we are an all-volunteer group. Recenty, under the direction of Mickey, a sub-committee has gone through all the books and organized the paperbacks into popular genres such as science fiction, mystery and romance. This makes it easier for buyers to find exactly what they are looking for and hopefully increase sales,” she said. “The book sales and the membership dues are our two main sources of revenue.”
Over the course of the two-day sale, almost 30 members volunteer their time for two hour shifts. They also have the set-up and the take-down phase of the project. Fyfe added that after doing the sale for so many years, it is now a “well-oiled process.”
Fyfe continued that the book sale has many repeat customers who come from all over Monmouth County.
“They look forward to the sale each year. And we try to chat with the customers and help them find the books they are looking for,” she said.
Prices for the books include: hardback books sell for $1.00 and large paperback books sell for 50 cents. Small romance and mystery books are 25 cents each. Children’s books are priced a bit lower as one of the group’s mission is to promote literacy.
For more information about the upcoming book sale at the Ocean Township Library branch, call the library at 732-531-5092. The library is located at 701 Deal Rd.