LAKE FOREST — Bargain hunters seeking deals on books will have more than 150,000 volumes to choose from over a four-day period in Lake Forest this weekend.
The 42nd annual Friends of the Lake Forest Library Book Sale takes place September 14-17 in the Lake Forest Recreation Center gym behind Deer Path Middle School with the thousands of books arranged throughout the room by category.
The sale is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 14, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sept. 15 and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Sept. 16 and 17. Thursday is for Friends’ members only but memberships are available at the door.
Membership cost ranges from $10 for seniors to $25 for individuals to $500 for a lifetime, according to Nancy Mieling, one of the event co-chairs.
Proceeds from the sale regularly approach $100,000, according to Sande Noble, the other co-chair. She said the Friends decide what projects it will fund to make the library a better resource for Lake Forest. Lemmer said the library’s budget funded by the taxpayers is $4 million. The Friends donation adds to that.
Mieling said the sale is one of the major events of the year in Lake Forest. It shows the value the community puts on reading and learning.
“People really respect the library and honor reading,” said Mieling. “They see this as a community event where they help the library and see their neighbors.”
Library Director Catherine Lemmer described the books as “gently used.” There is a vetting process to determine which books are good enough to be offered at the sale and which ones will go to some other charity even before the event.
Noble said there is a core of 25 volunteers who work year around on the event. They look at every donation that comes to the library, price it and put it in a category. Some books are rejected.
“If it doesn’t meet their standards it goes to some other charity,” said Noble. “We really need them to keep the good quality of the sale. There are no markings and the books are in good shape.”
Though Mieling said more than 250 people volunteer in one way or another, most of them put in their heavy hours around the time of the sale. They help set it up and take it down. There is less to do at the end because most of the books are sold. By the final day, the remaining books are 50 percent off.
Mieling said the core of 25 people who help out all year are critical to the sale.
“Without the pricers and the markers we wouldn’t have a sale,” said Mieling.
When customers enter the gym, they will find the approximately 150,000 books arranged around the room by 120 categories not unlike a book store. Some categories like history have subcategories.
“Under history we have United States history, military history sorted by war and world history,” said Noble. “Children’s books are sorted by age group and subject. Sports are done by each sport.”
Over the years the book sale has brought $2.3 million to the Friends to improve the library. said Mieling. The organization has helped the library achieve some firsts and continue programs it offers patrons.
“We paid for the first computer and renovated the children’s section,” said Mieling. “We’ve restored artwork and funded all the programs. We paid for half the media center.”
There are times one volunteer places a different value on a book than someone else. Mieling said that does not bother her. When people get a particularly good bargain she knows it will bring them back.
“Your bad can be their good,” said Mieling. “A man said he found a good on a $2 table that was worth $150. He said, ‘I’m feeling really good.’ That makes me feel good.