The city of Detroit does not have enough books for its community center libraries.
In some cases, says Amanda Draper-Livengood, she is told that libraries barely have any.
Fortunately, the city has trucks. And the books? The Bookstock second-hand book and media sale, which returns next Sunday for an eight-day run after two years lost to the pandemic, has 300,000.
Or maybe more. Paperbacks, hardcovers, rarities, CDs, DVDs, vinyl albums and maybe an 8-track or two are so plentiful that they have to be hidden in three places, so an exact count would be difficult even if anyone was crazy enough to try.
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What’s most important to most of us is that Michigan’s largest used book sale will pick up where it left off, raising heaps of money for literacy projects. and education while selling children’s books for as little as 50 cents, standard paperbacks for $1, and hardbacks. for $3 or $4.
What’s key for Draper-Livengood is that there will be leftovers when the sale ends May 22 at the Laurel Park Place mall in Livonia. She has plans for quite a few of them, and that’s exactly what Bookstock is built for:
Getting books out of basements and putting them back on people’s laps where they belong.
A confession: I am involved
Full disclosure: I am the honorary chairman of Bookstock, an all-volunteer production that has raised $2.2 million in 18 previous sales over 20 years.
Fuller disclosure: My wife and I are at a point in our lives where we’re supposed to get rid of our possessions, not add them, so there have been years where I’ve kept a crate of groceries in my car and I facilitated them. and get out of the house one by one rather than confessing my bibliophilological sins.
There are worse positions to be in, and that’s something Draper-Livengood is trying to fight.
Apparently, nine community centers in Detroit have modest libraries – or depots, in fact, where visitors can pick up some of the several hundred books, return them if they feel like it, replace them with other books if they want. takes them, or not to return them at all.
“We don’t have a budget,” Draper-Livengood said. “Some of our recreation center libraries don’t even have shelves.”
And, let’s note, they don’t have a librarian. Her job with the city is coordinating Hart Plaza, but she volunteered to be the book angel because “it’s about spreading the love. That’s what it’s all about, spreading love and knowledge and supporting people in these neighborhoods.
Continuing the theme, she would love to get more children’s books, as well as encyclopedias that kids could use for homework. And she would be delighted to find donations of sofas, chairs and children’s furniture, “so that Grandma and Grandpa can come in and read a book to their grandchildren”.
If you have a line on these larger items, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For the full recap of the sale, head to BookstockMI.org.
Or, for the abbreviated version, read on.
A presale (watch out for elbows)
Some key facts:
- There’s a presale at 8:15 a.m. Sunday where $20 gets you the first shot at the merchandise. Don’t stand between the opening crowd and the cookbooks. One year, a TV reporter doing a live broadcast was kicked out.
- Otherwise, admission is free. Sales hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. otherwise.
- The books are sorted by category – history, mystery, children, sports, etc. – and can be found throughout the mall. New for the COVID era, there will also be a tent outside near Dunham.
- Educators with a passable ID get 50% off their purchases from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
- New merchandise comes out every day, so shop early and often.
- Everything is half price on the last day, May 22. Then, after closing, a note on the letterhead of a non-profit organization or municipality allows you to get all the books you can walk away with for free.
That’s where Draper-Livengood comes in, complete with a team of husky volunteers and some big vehicles.
“My idea,” she said, “is to annihilate you.”
Bring it on, we say – and we’ll see her again next year.
If it’s not buried in a book, you can contact Neal Rubin at NARubin@freepress.com. Please follow him on Twitter at @nealrubin_fp.