10 August, 2010


This past weekend our local library had their annual book sale. My husband and I saw a flier and decided we would go. We already have a lot of books, in fact we tend to buy them wherever we go, but this was for a good cause and certain to hold some good deals. When we got there we found it to be a much larger event than expected. It turns out they had over 100,000 books to sell, ranging in price from a mere 50 cents to $2.00 at the most expensive. People probably began lining up an hour prior to the opening, with bags and boxes and suitcases in hand. We felt thoroughly unprepared, but willing to fight the crowd for the love of books.

The sale was held in an old Volvo dealership, no bookshelves included. Instead, there was row after row of tables stacked with books above and below. And many hands grabbing for those books.

I was charmed to see children amazed by the sheer quantity of books and enjoyed observing the few people who studied each book with anticipation before placing it in their bags. Unfortunately the hasty, greedy, book-selling, book-grabbing people seemed to make up the majority. They rushed in with their boxes and their fancy smart phone attachments, scanning each bar code to see how much they could sell it for online. Some people carelessly shoveled whole stacks into their boxes. They did not look around to appreciate the enormity of the event nor to nod at their fellow bibliophiles.

This upset me a little bit more than necessary perhaps, and I had to sit outside and read for a while before Ian finished his search. All the money they spent still supported the library and somebody will be reading those books, but still... it almost seemed sacrilegious. Nonetheless, I did love the feeling of being completely surrounded by books.

I always have loved that feeling. When my sister moved to her own bedroom and I got our bunk beds all to myself I took out the bottom mattress, put in my inflatable chair and a bookshelf, and felt like I was encapsulated by my own little library. I suppose I've created a similar environment in my new apartment.

If you are ever in the need of bookshelves I would highly recommend this method. Although the cost of materials can add up,it's definitely cheaper than IKEA and you can completely tailor it to your desires. It's also very easy. All you have to do is stack the 1/2-size cinder blocks and wooden boards; you don't even need nails or glue. I decided to paint the boards gray to match the concrete, and used smaller bricks as well to add height to each shelf and to create this pattern on the side.

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