In the fall of 2014 the clarion call went out: Give us your tired, your outgrown, your neglected—books! What began as a casual conversation with Associate Teacher Cyndi Quinn about a fun way to get books in the hands of students has quickly established itself as one of the favorite events of the school year: The Great Heathwood Used Book Sale!
Donations from our Heathwood community poured in, and in very short order the library had a storage room bulging with wonderful books of every description. In the first week of December 2014, when the Christmas tree went up in the Campus Center lobby, so did the tables for the first-ever used book sale. With the goal of filling our students’ cubbies with great lots of great reading material, prices were set low: $1.00 for “hard” books and 50¢ for “bendy” books. The sale was a big success, and in addition to filling students’ bookshelves, the library raised $780 for the visiting author program. It was easily the most-fun two days of the entire library year, and we couldn’t wait to do it again!
In 2015 the Great Used Book Sale returned with an awesome new wrinkle: the Wrapping Station. Since the sale happens in December, many students had Christmas, Hanukah, and Families Helping Families in the forefront of their minds. Once again our community stepped up, not only donating books for the sale, but also many rolls of wrapping paper, gift labels, tape and ribbon. Students had a marvelous time wrapping presents with the help of wonderful student and faculty volunteers. There were a lot of “interesting” gift choices, many very creative wrapping jobs, and we all wished we could be a spy on Christmas morning to see the reactions when some of the presents were opened! When the wrapping paper and ribbon scraps settled, the sale had raised an amazing $1,057!
2016 extended that success even further, raising a total of $1282. Many students purchased books as gifts for beloved student Gabriella Holland Giovannone, who was in the hospital at the time. When Gabriella Holland’s room was fully stocked, they came back to purchase still more books, this time for the other children in the hospital. Often students had to be reminded to choose a book for themselves, as they were so focused on buying presents for friends, siblings, teachers, parents and other relatives. After the sale, left-over boxes of elementary books have gone to the Arthurtown Child Care Center and to under-served public schools in the area.
Now in our fourth year, we feel like old hands; we stockpile books all year, sorting them by division-level, and we (and our awesome volunteers) have the set-up and breakdown down to a science. It is still a fresh joy, however, to see the smile on a child’s face as he or she says “I get to KEEP this? Forever??” or when they find the name of a friend inside the cover of a book they’ve chosen, or as they carefully wrap a book they just know someone is going to love. Students recommend books to one another as they peruse the tables; teachers fill bags with books for classroom libraries, and everyone goes home with something new. Even the last few boxes of hardcover fiction this year found a new life, as a “bookmas tree” in the library, reminding all of us that one person’s discard is another’s treasure! And this year's sales results were record-breaking, totaling $1528! Thank you to all who donated, all who volunteered, and all who shopped for making each Great Used Book Sale even more of a success than the last.