Friends of the Victoria Public Library Book Sale

Cindy Tonche-Molina looks at a book while holding her sleeping 1-year-old son Juan Molina at the Friends of the Victoria Public Library Book Sale Thursday.

Victorians who decided to browse the stacks at the Friends of the Victoria Public Library’s book sale last week had the chance to stock up on more than just used books.

The triannual sale also included music, movies and even old federal court filings, though those were intended more for arts and crafts than light weekend reading.

This fall’s sale culminated in Saturday’s “bag day,” when anyone with a Friends of the Library tote bag could fill up their bag with as many books as they wanted for only $1 — as many times as they wanted.

Friends of the Victoria Public Library Book Sale

Susan Hebert browses around for books to buy during Thursday’s Friends of the Victoria Public Library Book Sale.

However, if you missed last week’s sale, don’t fret. The next one is only a few months away, from Jan. 15 to Jan. 21, and then again from May 14 to May 20.

The books and multimedia materials sold at the book sales are donations from the community, which the group accepts every week, except for the weeks when a sale is going on. Other books come from the library itself, when it periodically weeds volumes from its shelves that aren’t circulating well and donates them.

While the exact amount varies before each sale, the group collects thousands of books in preparation, so many that they overflow onto the floor of the library’s Bronte Room, where the sales are held.

Friends of the Victoria Public Library Book Sale

Various books grouped together by genre.

That’s important, because the book sales are the main focus of the Friends of the Library, according to Diana Sneed, the group’s board president.

“We’re very grateful to the community for all that support,” Sneed said.

Unsold books are donated to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Most of the book sales’ proceeds go to providing block funding to the library, which supplements the funding it gets from the city of Victoria, according to Diane Boyett, the group’s board vice president.

“They (the library) are able to direct that funding to their areas of need to make certain that programs, especially those programs that require materials, like the crafting programs and things like that, that they’re able to make those available to the public at no charge,” Sneed said.

Friends of the Victoria Public Library Book Sale

Chuck Lambert gives back change to a customer at the Friends of the Victoria Public Library Book Sale.

Over the years, the Friends of the Library have gotten some unique donations. Last year, Boyett said, the group received a tub of 1870-era copies of Harper’s Weekly, the famed political magazine.

Those didn’t go onto the floor sale because of how carefully they needed to be handled, but were sold online.

Even amongst the more regular donations, there’s a wide variety to choose from amongst the sales’ selections.

Shoppers interested in picking up a new skill could find a textbook on “Cardiac Surgery in the Adult;” fans of the classics could grab Shakespeare and Locke; while sitcom addicts could get a full set of “Friends” on DVD.

Younger Victorians can also get in on the action with bins full of children’s books and a selection of plastic-wrapped Marvel comic books.

Friends of the Victoria Public Library Book Sale

Joe Hebert browses through the selection during the Friends of the Victoria Public Library Book Sale Thursday at the Victoria Public Library.

Katy Williams, who was browsing the sale Thursday morning, said she brings her kids to the sale, who enjoy its selection of children’s books. Williams homeschools her kids, so she’d picked out a Smithsonian U.S. history DVD along with a gardening book.

Browsing the sale thoroughly requires some time, because the books are sorted by genre, not by author.

“You’ll come in here and you’ll start looking for a book … and as you’re looking through all of these books, you’ll pick up a book and it’s by an author you’ve never heard of or you’ve never read,” Boyett said. “So you pick up that book and decide, ‘it’s a 50-cent investment, I can gamble on that,’ and then you fall in love with that author.”

Friends of the Victoria Public Library Book Sale

A blue piece of paper posted up to inform customers of the book prices.

Ian Grenier covers K-12 and higher education for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach him at igrenier@vicad.com