Friends of the Alamance Libraries Spring Book Sale returns, with some modifications

Last year at about this time I was writing about preparations for the annual Friends of the Alamance County Libraries Spring Book Sale that was scheduled for March. I’m a volunteer for the organization, a member and serve on the board. I’m also a longtime sale customer. It’s a mark-the-calendar event in our household. I have attended the Fall and Spring sales regularly since I moved back to Burlington in 2007.

In 2020, things didn’t go as planned for anyone. Everyone knows what happened. The global pandemic shifted from something far away into an all-to-real and dangerous present and unclear future. On March 12, 2020, when much of the nation began to shut down and stay at home, the Friends of the Libraries issued an announcement that the Spring Sale would be postponed indefinitely. Ultimately, the Spring Sale for 2020 was never held at all. It was a major blow for the Alamance County Libraries. The book sales pay for programming at May Memorial, North Park, Graham and Mebane library locations. Since 1986, the sales have raised more than $1 million. That’s a lot of $5 hardback books.

The Friends made the best of a bad situation. It held a sale of CDs and DVDs (also part of the normal sale) outdoors in the summer and executed a scaled down Fall Sale with new rules for entry and physical distancing. In-between folks continued to donate boxes of hardback and paperback books. The shelves in the basement of May Memorial Library, where the sales are held, brim with books.

The good news is that there will be Spring Book Sale for 2021. It’s called the Friends “modified” Spring Book Sale. Preregistration is required for shoppers who can enter by appointment only. Preregistration begins on March 12 by going online to Folalsale@gmail.com. Only one slot is available per customer and shopping time is limited to 90 minutes. Only 15 shoppers will be allowed during any time slot. As is the case everywhere these days, masks and physical distancing are required. Paperback books are $1.50 and hardbacks $3. CDs and DVDs haven’t been priced as yet, but there are so many available the cost for shoppers will be low. A state law enacted two years ago requires the non-profit organization to add a sales tax.

The sale begins with a members-only day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 26. May Memorial is located on Spring Street in downtown Burlington but entry to the sale is on Davis Street. The full schedule is listed on the flyer below.

Note again, that preregistration begins on March 12.

The shelves are once more jammed with books. While working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, which as of this post has claimed more than 500,000 lives in the United States, I sorted and cleaned shelves in my office at home. I hauled five or six boxes of books to one of the regular Drop-Off Days the Friends of the Libraries schedules to receive donations. From what I can see a lot of people had the same idea. The reorganization at my house was long overdue. I donated some books I truly love. Before boxing my collection of Kurt Vonnegut Jr. paperbacks, many of which I had since high school, I decided it was time to give others an opportunity to discover the insight, satire, wit, laughter and blessings contained in Vonnegut works like “God Bless You Mr. Rosewater” or “Cat’s Cradle.” I carried that thinking through about other books as well.

I hope all find a good home.

As we await vaccinations and a return to more normal life, it’s hard to beat the company of books.

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