Sunday, April 29, 2012

Volunteering at the City of Montreal Library Book Sale

Montreal is actually a pretty big city, the only problem, however, is that it is mainly French speaking which means that any library book sale will end up being about 90% French books and 10% English!


Basically, the Montreal Library Book Sale consists of discarded library books AND donations the network of libraries in the Montreal area have received/donated.  Once a year, the City of Montreal gathers all the books and puts on a huge sale.


I had been thinking of doing volunteer work for some time, but since my heart would break working with animals or children, I thought that I could volunteer with books - my passion.


Anyway, this long intro to say that today I volunteered at the library sale.


Quick logistics - they figure they received 145,000 books and I believe them.  Check out this picture of the "sorting area" these are boxes that haven't even been opened yet.  Trust me this picture doesn't even cover the number of boxes that were there.  When I first walked into the back of the hockey arena, I actually had my breath taken away - so many books in one spot!




This is only a portion of the books that were set up on the tables.


























One of the other reasons I volunteered was because I honestly and truly HATE waiting in line for ANYTHING (ask my friend Cindy, she can vouch for this!)and because the City of Montreal library sale is ONE of the biggest (and only once a year) there are tons of people at this one - who wait hours in line. Well, of course, I had been working the sale way before the doors opened to the public so I had no idea how many people were outside (thank goodness it was beautiful out). Once they opened the doors, I looked around and saw about 50 people in the huge arena, which did not seem like much to me, except when I left the building after my shift was over, to discover that they were letting people in a little bit at a time (with security monitoring the doors). This meant that there were a ton of people waiting in line.
Over all, it was fun - although I was agonizing over the fact that so few English books were there. Here is what I did get (they gave all the volunteers a $5.00 voucher):



  • The Kingmaker by Brian Haig (thriller) ($29.99 new  - my cost $1.00)
  • Girl Seeks Bliss by Nicole Beland (I already started this one and love it) ($20.00 new - my cost $1.00)
  • Simple Yoga by Cybele Tomlinson ($20.00 new - my cost $1.00)
  • Yoga Poetry of the Body (50 practice cards) (this one is $25.00 brand new - got it for $1.00)
  • Debt-Free Forever by Gail Vaz-Oxlade ($21.99 brand new - my cost $1.00)

I get to do it all over again next weekend.

9 comments:

Cindy Smith said...

Tina didn't that debt free book just come out recently? Wow it sounds like fun and happy you found some deals.

And yes readers its true Tina hates waiting in line and will avoid it at all costs LOL

bermudaonion said...

Wow, I didn't realize Montreal is 90% French - does that create a problem in the schools? It looks like the book sale is popular!

Tina said...

Kathy, actually Montreal is probably closer to 30% English and 70% French, but we also have a reputation for having the most horrible libraries in Canada! and part of the problem is that the government only sends minimal funds to the libraries and they have to somehow divide the moneys between English and French - with French getting more of the book purchases. The weird thing is that many, many French people (me including) read in English!

Laura Fabiani said...

Wow! That's a lot of boxes. I have been to this sale about 2 years ago but did not find many English books. My kids read French, though, so maybe I'll go next year, but waiting in line is long!

Wall-to-wall books said...

HOLY CRAP!!! That sale is huge!!!!
Lucky you!

Michael Black said...

Of course, there is no shortage of English books in Montreal, and really a near endless string of book sales where English books dominate, some in the fall, some in the spring.

I count 13 sales where English predominates since the beginning of the year (actually, I missed a few right at the beginning) and nine still to come. I expect to add a few in the coming weeks.

Michael
A few are some larger sale that seem to have a fair book selection, but most are just book sales.

And then in the fall, maybe about 15, but that includes some of the largest.

And of course, the garage sale season has started despite the cool weather, and that's an endless supply of books, though one has to sift through them and best-selling fiction tends to dominate.

For that matter, this past weekend was the usual time for McGill students to move out, leaving piles of junk behind, often a source of interesting books. I didn't see much this year, but did get a biography of Diego Rivera, the painter.

Children's books are really quite easy to find, both at book sales and at garage sales, though specific books may be harder to find. Some neighborhoods are better than others, some have better density of children yet also a population that isn't moving, so the kid's stuff goes while the people remain.

Michael

avisannschild said...

Wow, that is a huge roomful of books! Too bad more of them aren't English books... Did you find any other good ones this past weekend?

Tina said...

Avis,

No, I did not really find anything else. Unfortunately, by the last weekend, the English selection was down to a bare minimum.

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