Pequot Library Book Sale marks 59th year
FAIRFIELD — The Pequot Library hosted its 59th Annual Summer Book Sale fundraiser, celebrating the event’s continual growth, which led to its being named among one of the largest book sales in New England.
“This is a wonderful event that brings the whole community out,” said Doug Fried, chairman of the Book Sale and Trustee of the Library. “The community donates the books, volunteers run the event and the community gets new reading material. It brings out the best in everybody. Pivot Ministry, which deals with people coping with addiction, helps do the heavy lifting, rain last week tore up the lawn and another volunteer came by and raked it and spread seed around - so it’s just a great community event.
“The library relies on the event for about 20 percent of our operating budget so it’s hugely important for an association library. The town gives us about 25-30 percent of our total funding so the rest has to come from fundraising and our endowment.”
Fried said the library estimates approximately 10,000 people attend the five-day event each year, approximately 150,000 books are donated each year and 150 volunteers help during the event — 25 of whom work year round.
“I can do the math - about 400 books a day every day of the year are donated,” he said, “and when we have too many copies of something or the books are not sold, we find ways to give them to local organizations, women’s shelters, prisons, the Southport Train Station and other lending libraries. We receive requests for our overflow.”
As one of the largest book sales in New England, this distinguished title has been well earned through the years, as the Pequot Library, 720 Pequot Avenue, displays for sale more than 150,000 gently used books as well as CD’s, DVD’s, records, and specialties, each of which was donated by the community.
Admission is free and open to the public during this fundraising event, which ran this year from Friday, July 26 through Tuesday, July 30. More than 60 categories were displayed, offering something for everyone and of every age.
New this year, was the Summer Book Sale catalog of “Specials” available for viewing and purchasing online.
As a public association 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization library, Pequot said it relies on the generosity of donors, corporate and community partners, and Friends of the Pequot Library memberships. Proceeds directly fund Pequot Library’s annual educational programs, events and services.
Pequot Library Director Stephanie Coakley said, “This is my favorite time of year at Pequot Library, this event is our biggest fundraiser, our volunteers work on it all year long. We can’t thank them or the people who donate the books enough. We will welcome approximately 8,000 people over this long weekend and it means so much to the library. It goes directly to support our free programs for all ages.”
“This is one of the biggest book sales in New England,” said Lynne Laukhuf, Pequot board member and volunteer. “We depend on the sales from this for our budget each year. We attract hundreds and thousands of people. Each year it gets bigger and better. This event has the most amazing collection of rare books. It’s a community builder, we see people coming here with their children and then years later with their children, who are now teenagers, it’s just a very wonderful and exciting event for everyone.”.
Longtime supporter Scott Green, Founder of Fox Pond Farm Events added, “The library has truly become a cultural center for the area and I think this is one of the leading events that they do, it really brings the love of reading to life and its experiential - it’s a bit of a search, seek and find, it’s a treasure hunt.”
Adding to the merriment and community spirit was Spic & Span Market’s Food Truck on site Friday and Saturday selling assorted sandwiches and soft drinks encouraging picnicking on the Great Lawn. Trinity Church ran Parking for Food Friday-Sunday. Volunteers in the church parking lot were on hand to collect cash and food donations benefiting food pantries at St. Luke’s and St. John’s in Bridgeport. Library hats and T-shirts were also sold.