At the library’s Great Used Book Sale, even our youngest students get very excited about buying stacks of books to have for their very own—“to keep forever!” as one preschooler said with glee. Students as young as three, right on up through the Upper School, come with baggies of coins or wallets in hand, eager to find their next great read. As a librarian, I love to see this, of course. But what warms my heart even more is what I see our community buying for others.
“I think Gabriella Holland would like these books,” the kindergartener says to me, as she places a stack of paperback picture books on my little cashier table. This scene is repeated time and again both days of the sale. For every book they bought for themselves, many of our students chose several more to share with their friend and classmate in the hospital. The kindergarten classes chose to buy a big stack of books to send for GH (as they call her) to enjoy, with the hope that she can also share them with the other children recuperating there.
Purchasing presents for classmates, siblings, parents and grandparents has been a tradition from the very first used book sale, and the free gift-wrapping table is always a bustling scene. Students chat with one another, with their teachers and the parent volunteers about which books to buy as gifts, then carefully wrap them and tuck them in their book bags to take home and place under the tree. The choices are wide-ranging, and I have often thought I’d love to be a fly on the wall on Christmas morning when those packages are opened!
Students aren’t the only ones who enter fully into the spirit of giving, however; for the past two years, our faculty has approached us about making a book donation to a local community service group. Our first year, extra preschool books were donated to the Arthurtown Childcare Center, and this year the Intermediate/Middle School has asked if they may have our extra books to donate to the free library at the Transitions Center.
Librarians love to talk about the importance of literacy and a lifelong love of reading to developing great citizens of the world. The Heathwood Hall used book sale is a celebration of books and reading, to be sure; but it is also a celebration of our desire to share what we love with those around us, in our school family and our larger community. The joy of giving away what we love is a feeling our students will remember long after all of the books are gone, and one we hope they will carry with them and “keep forever!”