American aphorist Mason Cooley once said, "While we are reading, we are all Don Quixote." And while the throngs of people stood in front of the countless bookshelves during the Prendergast Library's 33rd annual book, it was easy to tell every single one of them had visions of their own windmills in their minds.
An estimated 300 to 400 people eagerly stood in line outside of the James Prendergast Library Saturday morning while waiting for the library to open its doors for its annual book sale. Though the doors didn't open until 11 a.m., many patrons arrive early to get prime selection of the books for sale. However, none showed up earlier than Dan Cordosi.
Cordosi, a Prendergast book sale veteran, arrived at the library doors at 6:30 a.m.
"It's sort of become an annual tradition for me," said Cordosi.
Corodsi said once the doors opened, he intended to head straight to the history. He has always had a fond liking of history and he believes that the Prendergast Library's book sale is a great opportunity to find new material to add to his collection.
Once the doors opened, patrons crowded into the library and headed to the genre of books that interested them the most.
Prendergast Library employees Ryan Walker, right, and John Schillner rearrange the humor section to make space for more books.
P-J photo by Remington
Jim Deponcau had the honor of grabbing the first book off of the shelves, which was "Through the Eyes of A Child, an Introduction to Children's Literature," by Donna E. Norton.
"I think that this would be a nice book to pass around with my grandchildren," said Deponcau. "My grandchildren are younger than 10 and they'll enjoy it because their mother will read it to them."
Deponcau said he would continue to look for children's books and vinyl records while he was at the sale.
"I'm a big fan of vinyl," said Deponcau. "The older artists I like that stuff. I'm an old man and I enjoy that, I don't really like the new stuff. With regards to books, I'm always keeping an eye out for children's books. Some of the (children's literature) that's for sale here could go for $30 to $40 dollars, but they're only charging $1 at most you can't find a deal like that anywhere else."
Because of the sheer number of books for sale, many professionals attend the book sale in hopes of finding research and teaching material. One such professional, Matt Warren, found plenty of items to add to his classroom's library.
"As a future English teacher, I think something like this is just gold," said Warren. "You can get such a variety of books for low prices and it all benefits the library, which is great. I plan on looking at the teen fiction, the children's fiction and some of the adult fiction too for the high school classroom. ... Any librarian should be here, I think, to stock up their school libraries. Again, for someone like me who is going into the field to be an English teacher, something like this is just great."
As Warren walked through the library, he stopped in the reference section, picking up a few dictionaries and a style guide, citing that one can never have enough dictionaries on hand. He proceeded into the children's and young adults' section, looking for literature which would be suitable to teach, but also anything that students might be interested in reading during their downtime.
"We're looking for what's commonly taught in classrooms, because you can never have enough copies of that," said Warren. "However, you want to have non-academic texts available too. It's important to simply make reading available to children anything to fill a shelf. You want kids to have the most opportunities as possible to read and you want to have books accessible at all times."
And though the book sale is the culmination of months and months of effort by the library staff, most staff members will be quick to tell you that the book sale is their favorite event of the year, regardless of the work required.
"It's a yearlong process," said Lucia Teresi, library employee. "We'll start taking donations and start sorting and categorizing and boxing them up next week, so it's a year round process for us. ... Last year the book sale generated (approximately) $29,000 in funding for the library and every year we work as hard as we can to increase that number."
However, supplanting the previous year's sales is never an easy task for the library, considering that the flat price for books hasn't increased in over 20 years.
"I think it was 1991 the last time we increased the price of books at the book sale," said Teresi. "We keep the prices low and hopefully that encourages people to come in and spend their money on a good cause."
Most importantly, the employees of the Prendergast Library have fun during the book sale, which is evident by their outward disposition to customers of the sale.
"It's a lot of work but it's a lot of fun too," said Claire Certo, library employee. "It's a lot of hard work but I really enjoy it. ... I look forward to it a lot. It's a really fun opportunity to (step outside of the traditional library atmosphere). All the workers and volunteers get to work together the community comes out and we all get to meet a lot of really good people."
The library opens at 9 a.m. today and the book sale will run until 5 p.m. Beginning at 2 p.m., the traditional bag sale will take place, where every bag costs $5 regardless of how many books are inside.