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Observations from the Second Floor

Updated: May 4, 2023

BY MERLE ANN GREEN

Friends of the Library Annual Sales Bring Together All Walks of Life


Curiosity filled the second floor of our library during the Summer Sale. The rooms were busy with hundreds of people all here for a common goal—to find the books of their dreams at bargain prices.


One of our first customers, his arms filled with books and a glow about him said, “COVID was the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I learned about air frying. My new passion filled with days with anticipation of a new cooking experience, and today, yes, I found some new cookbooks.”


As the day progressed, I continued engaging our customers, asking why they were here. A detective from out of town—with the greatest outgoing and enthusiastic personality—carried boxes full Shakespeare books and two bags filled with books for his children, who stood by him anxious to be able to hold their new prizes.


“I’m here buying my Christmas presents for next year,” said a lovely lady “snowbird.” I’m thrilled you have one during the summer too when we are here.”


A gentleman with a divine British accent asks abut history books. His wife is “galivanting around” he says, buying everything she can get her hands on. “I am more interested in learning about our history,” he said. As he continues to share his thoughts, I find myself mesmerized with his tone of voice (he could read the yellow pages and I would listen).


We are interrupted by a gentleman who is looking for “clean old books.” He has built a library in his home and wants to display only old classical books, but they must be pristine. Curiosity strikes again and I must ask—does he read them? “No not really, it is more for impressing visitors,” he laughs. He shows us beautiful pictures of his library on his phone.


A beautiful woman brings her “stash” of books and is so excited to share how becoming a vegan changed her life. On and on she goes about how, because of COVID, she was finally able to take charge of her life.


A Trump enthusiast, one gentleman spent a good portion of his life researching Donald Trump and was looking for anything on the subject that he had not already read. This was certainly not the time to discuss politics, but my curiosity took over again. He explained in detail how he finds it fascinating studying what makes Trump “tick.” If not for the long lines I could have probably spent a lot of time talking with him.


The customer is looking to buy book as wedding centerpieces, which will also be a raffle prize for the winning ticket at the table.


“Christmas in July” was overheard by many of our customers. They were like kids in a candy store. Two Brown University fellowship students from Austria were in a state of extreme excitement over the selection of books and classical music. Around the corner a gentleman appears with what seems to be every book on Harry Potter, “I’m so excited! I am going to read these to my nephew,” he says. A discussion was going on at the front table, a man was holding up a book showing human bones structure, “who would ever want these?” he exclaimed. Yet just next to him stood a yoga instructor who could not wait to get the books out of his hands.


And yet when you think you can’t top these events, a woman comes in after looking through the books, asks in disbelief, “are these really the prices?” Moments later she returns with a large stack of books, “I work with Alzheimer patients and when their loved ones come in they are always looking for books to help them to understand. Now I can buy 10 books to put on our shelves for them.” One man bought 79 CDs because they covered every genre of music he loved, since childhood and they were only two for $1.


It was a delight to observe these and so many other individuals at our very successful sales over the past year. There was no doubt people from all over the world— including residents from Exeter, North Attleboro, Seekonk, Provincetown, Newport, Boston, and more—were happy take a deep breath and enjoy themselves perusing the volume and variety of books on display. We, the volunteer members of the Friends of the Barrington Library, appreciate all the enthusiasm that helps to grow our library.


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