Vicksburg Library book sale is community effort

By Laura MacLellan

Gail Reisterer has run the Vicksburg Library book sale since 1995, when she inherited it from Dorothy Green. Green managed the sale by herself with a few dedicated volunteers. When Green retired and Reisterer assumed responsibility for the sale, she spent a few years determining how to reorganize it. The sale has operated the same way every year since with very few modifications.

Reisterer is amazed at the number of community members who volunteer. Six women volunteer weekly to sort books throughout the year. Setup relies on 15-20 people before the sale, and 17 work the site each day of the sale. At 1 p.m. on Monday, volunteers box the leftover books before they leave.

Reisterer only has to ask and the community is happy to contribute time and energy. Money brought in from the book sale is set aside for the children’s summer reading program, and she believes this is one reason people are so eager to help – and volunteering is fun. The book sale once brought in more money than the children’s collection annual budget, and volunteers made that possible.

People come to the sale for the bargains. Most hardcovers are priced at 50 cents and paperbacks at 25 cents. New books are priced higher, at $2 or $3 for hardcovers and 75¢ for paperbacks. Collectible books are marked based on their greater value. On the final day, shoppers can fill a bag with books for just $2.

Despite the low prices, the book sale brings in a significant amount of money for the library. In 1995 the sale earned $1,141. In 2005 the profits broke $3,000 for the first time, and the highest amount was $3,204 in 2010. Since then, the sale has averaged $2,500. Reisterer attributes the drop to the growing popularity of e-readers but says more books are donated every year.

Reisterer is grateful for the community’s support: for the many willing volunteers, the shoppers who come to the sale, and people who say, “Keep the change,” because they want to help the library. Some people don’t realize it’s going on during the Old Car Festival, but once they’ve discovered it, says Reisterer, they always come back.

Vicksburg District Library’s Annual Book Sale Runs Fri, 6/9, and Sat, 6/10, from 10 am – 5 pm and Mon, 6/12, from 10 am – 1 pm

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