Oklahomans go ga-ga for good books


Marisa Caban

Photographer

The 35th annual Metropolitan Friends of the Library Book Sale took place Feb. 21-22 at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds; people from around Okla. and the nation purchased $1 hardbacks and 50-cent paperbacks of many genres.

FOL is a volunteer-run organization that supports the Metropolitan Library System through donations; most of their profits come from the annual book sale, where up to 600,000 books are sold each year, Beth Toland, the voice of the book sale, said. The organization has granted over $3 million to MLS.

“The book sale is increasingly the most successful fundraising for the Friends of the Library and primarily the main source of $3.3 million donated to the metropolitan library,” Toland said. The donations range from equipment and computers to new books and other various support.

The Oklahoma Friends of the Library’s annual book sale attracts thousands of attendees to the Oklahoma Expo Hall on Feb. 21 at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds in northwest Oklahoma City.  Photo  by Marisa Caban

The Oklahoma Friends of the Library’s annual book sale attracts thousands of attendees to the Oklahoma Expo Hall on Feb. 21 at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Marisa Caban

Kristin Hahn, professor of English and Humanities, said she volunteered for the FOL book sale twice before and attends it often.

“I enjoy it,” Hahn said. “My husband works for the Friends of the Library, but I have to put a limit on how many books he gets.”

With low prices on books, one can get quite carried away with how much is too much.

Math lab tutors Patrick Kriley and Allie Arnold have also attended the book sale for several years and said they have many great experiences shopping there. Krieley has been to 15 book sales and said he enjoyed getting textbooks, fiction and history books.

“It’s a good experience,” Kriley said, “I got a whole set of original James Bond books…all paperback, for probably about $6, an incredibly buy to get them all.”

Arnold said she takes a rolling suitcase with her to fill, in search of older books, but she enjoys the vast variety of titles available, as well as collectors books and books that are out of print.

“The first time I went, (it) was incredibly overwhelming,” she said, “I didn’t expect that many people there. You have to be willing to push through people and dig through the books. I was also overwhelmed by the number of books.”

Often people at the sale will have carts, shopping bags, or even trash cans to fill with books. With no purchase limit, the books can go flying off the rows of tables stacked waist-high throughout the entire Oklahoma Expo Hall.

The sale can be crowded during its peak hours on Friday evening, which is members’ night, and Saturday afternoon. Holding areas are set up within the building for people to drop off bags of books so they can free up their arms to carry more; hand trucks are available for rental to carry purchases to cars.

A treasure trove of books can be purchased at the annual FOL’s book sale at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds.

A treasure trove of books can be purchased at the annual FOL’s book sale at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds.

Toland said volunteers are always appreciated and can work as cashiers, hand truck operators, book stockers, or holding clerks. Volunteers have the added benefit of shopping a day before the sale opens, she added.

Generally, 800-1000 volunteers every year work throughout the weekend, and Toland said this year’s sale had around 850 volunteers signed up before Friday night

Hahn said Volunteering for the book sale or FOL counts as a Service Learning opportunity at RSC.

RSC has its own Friends of the Library program that students and community members can join. One benefit is the LRC’s annual February book sale, which takes place just before the MLS book sale. RSC special project librarian Brad Robison said the two events are not associated.

The next Friends of the Library Book Sale will be Feb. 20-22, 2015. The event is open Saturday and Sunday to the general public for free, but Friday night is for members only. FOL memberships are $10 annually.

For more information about the book sale or FOL volunteering opportunities call (405)-606-3763 or visit https://www.supportmls.org/friends

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: