by Diana Bulls
Most people think of February’s three-day holiday weekend as just that, but Reedley bibliophiles know that the First United Methodist Church’s annual book sale opens the Saturday following President’s Day and there will be literally hundreds and hundreds of books—all at bargain prices!
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the sale that was started by members of the congregation looking for ways to put the “fun” back in fundraiser. They were already trading books between themselves and participating in book discussion groups, so a book sale just seemed the natural way to go. Many churches and organizations have had books for sale as part of their larger fundraisers, but this is the only true book sale held in Reedley.
On the Sunday before the President’s Day holiday, the social hall is cleared and tables are set up according to a special map that has been developed over the last ten years. Books are brought out of storage, and the new book donations are sorted into “departments” like Mystery/Suspense, History, Biography, etc. and delivered to their corresponding tables. Books completely fill the social hall, the back of the sanctuary and a “Bargain Room.”
In addition to books, there are audio and video tapes, CDs, DVDs, computer games and software, records, children’s games and puzzles. There is also a “Collector’s Corner” which showcases first editions, autographed volumes, local authors or books of local interest, antiques, and curiosities like celluloid bookmarks or fancy book plates. Everything is donated, so you never know what surprises you might find.
In past years, lucky buyers have gone home with a first-edition Mastering the Art of French Cooking autographed by Julia Child, a complete set of leather-bound Louis L’Amour western fiction, a 78 rpm record of Bing Crosby singing White Christmas and a first edition Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck with book jacket intact.
All the books are separated into clearly marked departments, so the browser can easily find the topic they are interested in. Pricing is by color coded stickers and there are price guides posted around the rooms and on the tables. Books are priced from 25¢ to $5.00. Collector’s items or book sets may be priced higher. The Bargain Room prices are 25¢ a book or $3/bag. Boxes and bags are available for shoppers, but many return customers bring their own tote bags. Shoppers are encouraged to pile their prizes in the pews so you don’t have to worry about carrying around a lot of heavy books.
If you are a diehard bibliophile, and can’t wait until the sale opens on Saturday, you might consider buying a ticket for the Book Sale Preview and Coffee House on Friday evening, February 25 from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets cost $5/person and include special coffee and dessert and the opportunity to buy all the books you want. Admission is limited and by ticket only. Tickets are available by calling 559-637-9964 or 559-646-6508.
The church is still accepting donations, so if you have books, games, CDs, DVDs, etc. that you would like to donate, please call 559-637-9964 to arrange for a pickup or drop-off. You can call 559-646-6508 for general book sale information.
This year the book sale will start on Saturday, February 26 and run through Saturday, March 5. Sale hours are Saturdays, 9 to 3; Monday through Thursday, 10 to 2; Friday, 6 to 9.
The First United Methodist Church is located on the corner of Eleventh & E streets, across from the Post Office. Handicapped entrance is from the parking lot off the alley.