The California Lancaster Library’s Friends of the Lancaster Library had its annual book sale this week and I ended up with making two trips and filling 3 of my heavy-duty cloth tote bags both times—I think I spent about $30 altogether and it was money well spent – the Friends of the Lancaster California Library buys computers and other well needed items for the library. In a recent newsletter sent to members such as myself, I learned that several members of the library staff went on a shopping trip to Barnes and Noble recently and were able to spend $20,000 on books and media for various sections of the library. They also added support to programs at the library. Can you imagine?  This is what the re-sale of books was able to do!

From the viewpoint of a book lover—the annual Friends’ sale is like finding candy in the candy store for a fraction of the regular prices—the Lancaster Friend’s book sale is very organized; the books are divided into categories such as children’s/young adult/cooking/biographies and fiction. The fiction category alone is huge but everything, such as mysteries and thrillers, are then divided into alphabetical order. The Friends volunteers spend an entire week getting all the books in order. Hard cover books are priced at a dollar each (but the sale on Fridays is half price day so those hardcover books I like so much will be 50c each. On Saturday, books are a “buck a bag”.

I’ve been to a lot of library’s Friends of the Library book sales in the San Fernando valley for over twenty years—and we donated two SUV’s-full of books to the Burbank Friends when I was moving to the Antelope Valley. After we moved and got settled, I donated six boxes full of more books. When you find yourself with too many books (if such a condition is possible) donating them to a library’s Friends of the Library organization is a worth-while way to go. The only reason I have thinned out some of my shelves was because my companion Bob’s taste in fiction wasn’t the same as mine. I’ve given dozens—maybe hundreds—of the books he enjoyed reading to the Lancaster Library’s Friends.

(I did give some of Bob’s special interests, such as his Mark Twain collection to a close friend who is also a book lover)

The reason I am sharing all of this with you is because maybe – just maybe – you love books and aren’t aware of the various Friends of the Library book sales in your area.

I know that our Lancaster Friends organization always needs volunteers; I think of this all the time, wishing I were in better physical condition to help set up the books. They always need help unpacking and sorting the books too.

This year I happened to find a Myra Waldo cookbook I didn’t have—the Art of Spaghetti Cookery (you might want to read my blog post about Myra Waldo—still one of the most fascinating cookbook authors I have ever encountered). I also found a book—in fine condition—titled HOW THE WORLD COOKS CHICKEN – that I think may be my next cookbook review.

I bought about a dozen children’s books for the children’s section of my garage library—about a dozen spiral-bound local cookbooks that feels like some one’s   cookbook collection. I bought perhaps thirty or forty paperback books with various titles and perhaps twenty or so hard bound books of fiction. Sometimes a title is one of “my” authors that I buy even though I have a copy – I am always trying to make converts out of my friends. (I have converted several friends to Robert Morgan’s books—he is one of my favorite authors—as is Adriana Trigiani; I found an extra copy of one of her early titles, “Big Stone Gap” that I am confident I can give to someone who will read it and like her writing style. I even got my soon-to-be twenty years old granddaughter reading some of Adriana’s books. It’s nice to have extra copies of some of your favorite books to give away when the opportunity presents itself. Sometimes I send some of my favorites to my penpals.

Well, I started this train of thought this morning primarily to share some of my convictions about a library’s Friends of the Library organizations and to let other book lovers know that while you can read a book on a digital device, such as a Book Nook—it isn’t the same as having a real book in your hands to read, to tell friends about, sometimes to share with. I remember when Janet Evanovich’s books first began to be published. I bought the books immediately and then would share them with co-workers. It was so popular that we had to have a list on the blackboard at work, so everyone would know whose turn was next to read the books. I think I may have converted some coworkers into reading.

–Sandra Lee Smith



  1. I very much enjoy reading your newsletters about cooking, cook books, baking and the latest one, Friends of the Library. I donate all my used books to the local library and buy many more at their big bi-monthly sales. They also have a smaller area of books that are available to buy every day.
    Please keep your newsletters coming!

    • Hello Eileen, and thank you for writing – I was hoping, as I typed, that this short article would strike a chord with someone, so thanks very much for your comments. I just realized–as I was watching tv–that some of the cookbooks I just bought would make a good blog post – so I will start on that next. Thanks again for writing – Sandy

  2. I love Janet Evanovich’s books too. Real books are better I agree.

  3. I went to our library book sale yesterday and got some good cookbooks. Of course you will be getting them when I finish reading them. The first two I picked to go thru are THE PRESLEY FAMILY COOKBOOK by Elvis’s uncle and the cook at Graceland , pub in 1980. The other is TOASTIN’ THE DOGS, recipes from famous people for Paws With A Cause pub. in 1994..For some reason the most interesting cookbooks were published in the 1960’s thru the 1990’s. I wonder why that is unless those are the ones more likely to be donated.

    • Thanks for writing, Shirley and Betsy – its reassuring to know that my friends are reading the blog posts. I think its unanimous that we all like REAL books. I hope they dont disappear in our lifetimes. – Sandy

  4. We’ve been donating books to our local library for many years (here and when we lived in NJ); I seldom go to their sales (4 or 5 per year – but hear great things about them ); The AAUW in our 3 towns (in a row! they run into each other) also have very big yearly sales. I try to stay away!

    To Betsy – I think the internet helped a bit in changing the format, ways, etc. of many cookbooks. Though I check and get many recipes on line — I still like a book I can hold in my hand!

  5. I agree, I would much rather read a ” real book” even if they take more room to store on a shelf.

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