Attending library book sales is a yearly tradition for us and in the past we have brought home bags/boxes of books. Ususally within our purchases were a few that we could use to go with our homeschool plans, but the majority were books the kids chose that they wanted to read for fun. Since the sales in the Fargo-Moorhead area were usually priced $2 per paper bag, I was not too firm with the kids about setting strict limits of what they chose - as long it was not something I disapproved of.
Last Friday the kids and I headed off bright and early to the Brainerd Library's used book sale. Ahead of time we had discussed how we would not be purchasing a bunch of "twaddle" or "fluff" reading materials this year, instead we would focus on quality literature and items that were worth having in our home filling shelf space. This was to be our first time attending the sale in our new community and I was assuming that since it was a smaller community and library, we would not find much that fit our purchasing agenda - was I wayyyyy wrong!
We arrived to a FULL parking lot and saw many people exiting the library with a book or two in bags, or completely empty handed - I thought this was a very bad sign. We entered a room much smaller than the room we were used to being in for sales and immediately noticed the pricing was different, by item - not by the bag.... BUMMER! I thought the whole experience was going to be a total disappointment, but we all split up and decided to start hunting.
I immediately went to the area where the classic literature was, and found a couple of books I had wanted to add to our home library, but was dissapointed that there were not more to be had since this was my main area of interest for purchasing. After I finished in that area, I wandered over to where the kids were. They were looking through tons of records - their new shopping interest since the discovery of Dad's old record player. I was astonished at what I found there.... A complete set of all of Shakespeare's plays, poems and histories on album in pristine condition packaged in beautiful sturdy shell cases (5 cases with 5-6 records in each one). Along with each recording of the acted out play was a book with the full text so you could read along while listening - as well as historical and background information. The set was called "The Living Shakespeare".
Next to them was a set of Time life Records that covered all of the eras of classical music and great composers. The set consisted of 18 beautiful cases containing 4-5 albums inside along with magazine type books that were filled with glossy color photos/artwork and information to accompany the music era and composers. I could not believe my eyes! I had been pricing CD's and tapes in both of these subjects to use for our homeschool use since we study a work of Shakespeare and a classical composer per quarter - now here they were before me in record form. The price on the wall said all audio items were 50 cents - I quickly grabbed the lady in charge of the sale and asked her how much these sets would be each - she thought about it a moment and told me 50 CENTS! I was elated! I immediately boxed them up and hauled them to the check out area for safe keeping. Newly motivated I continued the hunt and ending up finding numerous items that were completely meant for our family's homeschool needs. The list includes:
Several works of classic literature
A number of books on nature study for children and phenology items
A number of old classic films - some for educational purposes
A set of videos on the Impressionists for our artist studies
Books for each child that go with their particular area of interest & learning
Some FREE teaching materials/texts for classic literature and poetry
A video series set of my mother's all-time favorite show from my childhood (snagged that for a Christmas gift)
We carried all of our boxes to the checkout area and added them to the 3 lg boxes of records. Others in line behind us with a few books in hand looked at us in awe. I thought to myself "What's the matter with you people? Haven't you seen a homeschool family before!" As we were checking out though, several people in line made remarks about our awesome finds and expressed marvel & jealousy wondering how I had found such great stuff. The secret... you just need to be willing to take the time to look through items meticulously (sometimes painstakingly) to find the treasure that may lie there - many are not willing to or do not have the time.
A nice older fellow who was helping people carry out purchases (like.. A box=1) came in and the check- out lady told him he needed to help me. He took the box from the table and started to leave, until she told him that the 4 other boxes on the floor were mine too. He seemed a bit surprised and said I was definitely thier number one purchaser thus far. He went to retrieve a dolly from somewhere and loaded it to the top and we headed out with the remainder in hand and filled the van. I was so giddy and overjoyed on the way home - singing and thinking about the things I'd found and the money I'd saved ( now that I could remove the Shakespeare CD sets from my "to buy" list) that I missed my turn home and had to turn around. The kids didn't know what to think of me.
You may be wondering how much money I did spend on all of this treasure? A grand total of $34 - the cost of ONE book, much less 5 boxes of curriculum based items and not one "twaddle" item in the midst! How absolutely awesome is that???
None of us could wait, so once home we brought out the record player, popped in A Midsummer Night's Dream and sat on the living room floor, surrounded by our piles of treasure... reading - all of us tickled pink :-)