This fun book from 1951 is good for a laugh but for the book sale — maybe not.

COLUMN: Trash, treasure, magpies — and more

The annual Friends of the Nelson Library book sale is a perfect opportunity to embrace your inner magpie.

There’s a little bit of magpie in all of us. We love it when trash becomes treasure and we find that priceless thing — at a great price. The annual Friends of the Nelson Library book sale is a perfect opportunity to embrace your inner magpie.

On Friday and Saturday, October 24 and 25 the friends want you to come over all magpie and fill your bag with bright shiny books, audiobooks, games and puzzles — and they want to box nothing back up afterwards. The Friends Book Sale is the very best sort of recycling.

For decades the Friends have been fundraising for furnishings, equipment, and special projects, making the library a better place for everybody. At the last sale the friends made $2,000 for the library; do I hear $2,500 this year? To that end, the friends are looking for your gently used (read: still pretty sparkly) books, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, and great games and puzzles.

It doesn’t follow, necessarily, that one person’s trash is another’s treasure. If you’ve been hanging on to your college textbooks since 1998 and you can finally let them be torn from your grasp, they’re probably not treasure to anyone else. Ditto that first DOS computer book, that self-help cassette book (Simplify your Life!), and the travel guide that took you to Marrakesh in the ’70s.

The friends know that their magpies — er, customers — are flapping for current books in near-new condition, and that they’re not stoked about magazines, encyclopedias, and Reader’s Digest condensed books. So thanks, but at the risk of looking a gift-bird in the beak, no thanks.

Each year we do have a problem with foundlings: books left anonymously in our foyer when we are closed. Please don’t! Books intended for the sale get picked through, our lobby gets crowded, and we are sometimes left with 1950s home decorating manuals (not all foundlings are cute).

Luckily for us, the friends are not magpies—they are magpie-enablers. This means that the best books make it from your boxes to the shelves at the Old Church Hall. So from now until October 18 bring in your best (More than a box? Please call ahead.) and then come out during the sale to hand-pick a few bright-and-shiny replacements for your nest.

Catherine, our book sale coordinator, spread her wings and grinned when I asked her about book sales past. She loves the folks that come out to help, trundling boxes from the library to the old church hall, and the folks who wait all year for the sale.

“There’s one couple who come up from the States every year — they say they are ‘bibliophiles with a big habit’ — so I try to give them as much notice as possible. Last year the timing was perfect: the husband was able to bring his wife here for the sale as a birthday present!” she says. “Now, that’s my kind of birthday.”

Got books? You know what to do. Want books (and much more)? Come to the old church hall at the corner of Kootenay and Victoria Streets, Friday, October 24 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, October 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring your inner magpie — and maybe even the whole darn flock. There’s something for every bird and beast at this sale.

— Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. For more information go to



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