ITHACA, N.Y. — The Friends of the Tompkins County Public Library Book Sale is back this weekend, with 278,000 items for shoppers to peruse. The sale boasts used books in over 70 categories, as well books in 93 different languages. Games, CDs, records, DVDs and more will also be sold.

Since last fall’s sale, 180 volunteers have been working on handling donations. In total, they’ve put in about 13,000 hours organizing, shelving and stocking items to prepare for the sale. Prices start low and continue to drop as the sale continues. 

“A beautiful new book- almost new, looks new- can cost $4.50 on the first day. The most beautiful children’s book would cost $3 on the first day. Prices go down from there,” said Kathy Weinberg, book sale coordinator. 

There are always unique finds in the Collector’s Corner. Prices can range from about $10 to thousands.
There are always unique finds in the Collector’s Corner. Prices can range from about $10 to thousands.

This year’s highlights include an oversized copy of Muhammad Ali vs Superman in the Collector’s Corner, thrillers and romance novels written in Russian, books on Eastern medicine, and large, illustrated editions of Alice in WonderlandGulliver’s Travels, The Wizard of OzMother Goose, and The Wind in the Willows. The cookbooks section has Moosewood cookbooks, as well as cookbooks by several well-known restaurant chefs.

Another new addition this year? The sale is teaming up with Purity Ice Cream. If shoppers bring in their Purity receipt, they can receive a free copy of Ice Cream Sundae or The Banana Split Book, which have been donated by Ithaca restauranteur Michael Turback.

Weinberg said that as always, the sale will be a great opportunity to purchase children’s books.

“If you need books for your children, we very much hope that people all over the community come in and make sure they have enough books for their kids or their kid’s classes,” said Weinberg. “Especially on the last weekend when prices are extremely low. Prices for children’s books of any type are 10 cents on the last Sunday and Monday, and on Tuesday a dollar a bag. The last Saturday it’s 25 cents for children’s hardbacks and 10 cents for the other children’s books.”

The sale features a large collection of children’s books.
The sale features a large collection of children’s books.

The main goal of the sale is to raise money to support the Tompkins County Public Library, the Finger Lakes Library system and local school libraries. The Friends of the Library also donate money to organizations that support literacy in the county, as well as providing grants in several different categories through their website. Weinberg said that another goal is to simply get books into people’s hands. 

Between the spring and fall sales, Weinberg said they raise about half a million dollars. They hope to stay on track during this spring’s sale.

Special days of the sale include Senior Day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 15, and Student Night, from 3 to 8 p.m. also on May 15.

“(Senior Day) is a day when those people can come shop unhindered, unimpeded and hopefully spend all the time they need and find everything they need,” said Weinberg. 

The sale runs from:

  • May 4 to 6 (First day hours 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., subsequent days 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) 
  • May 11 to 13 (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
  • May 15 (Senior Day 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Student Night 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.)
  • May 18 to 21 (10 a.m. to 8 p.m., May 20 is Dime Day and May 21 is Bag Day) 

Featured image: The spring 2018 Friends of the Library Book Sale. (Kelsey O’Connor/Ithaca Voice)

Rae Harris

Rae Harris is an intern at the Ithaca Voice and a staff writer for Buzzsaw Magazine. She will be graduating from Ithaca College with a B.A. in journalism and a minor in sociology in May 2019. Contact her...