At the Used Book Sale at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, a good book is easy to find

By Mary Richardson

Polly Cole repeats her advice from last year concerning the Used Book Sale at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church — “Shop early and shop often.”

Last year’s sale set a record for the number of books for sale, and this year has surpassed that number, she said. Because they have so many books, there isn’t room on the tables for all of them. Volunteers are continually replenishing the tables from boxes of books stored underneath. “That’s why you should come often,” she says. “The selections will continually change.

Dates of the sale are Friday through Sunday, March 22-24. It will be again held in the EDS gym at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, 715 Kirkman. Hours are 8-6 p.m. on Friday, March 22, 8-4 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, and 11-4 p.m. on Sunday, March 24, which is the day of the famous “$5 a bag” sale. People are given sturdy bags and totes and pay $5 for as many books as the bag
can hold.

Proceeds from the sale are given to local nonprofit agencies. After the 2023 book sale, a record-breaking $32,000 was distributed to the Southwest Youth Foundation, Girlie Girl Mentoring Program Inc., Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Salvation Army, La Paws and the Good Shepherd Brown Bag program. This year’s recipients will be announced before the sale.

Price for paperback books is still 50 cents. Other prices will be the same as last year with one exception. “Trade” paperbacks, which are printed on better paper and with larger print, will sell for $2. Other prices are $3 for hardbacks and cookbooks, although Louisiana cookbooks are $4, and $1-$2 for children’s books. DVDs are $2. CDs and LP albums are $1. Jigsaw puzzles range from $3 to $6. Some books have been pulled because of exceptional quality and will sell for a few dollars more; these will be marked with colored ribbons.

Cole says that each year the sale has a “personality,” depending on what has been donated. Last year was the year of science fiction and fantasy. This year she thinks it will be the year of mystery and thrillers.

“We have everything from cozy mysteries to Sherlock Holmes, plus lots of thrillers. We’ve never had so many,” Cole said, adding that the sale will also include a record number of children’s books, including board books, picture books and chapter books. “Some are just incredibly beautiful.”

Volunteers work for months sorting books, DVDs, CDs, and jigsaw puzzles into categories. Cole leads a core group of volunteers from Good Shepherd as well as book enthusiasts from the community who organize the sale – Amy Allen, Gina Ardoin, Pam Clark, Deb Fontenot, Karen Garber, Kay House Hart, Debbie Howrey, Cheryl LeBlanc, Aimee Monk, Polly Norman, Sandra Taveney, and Kathy Griffith.

This year the volunteers have worked under a new challenge. Good Shepherd church is under reconstruction to repair damage from the hurricanes, so some of the sorting took place in the church’s Outreach House, located across the street from the church. “It’s added a new dimension to the work,” Cole said, “and it’s been a challenge, but we are getting it done!”

Cole is also asking the community for help in the days leading up to the sale.  “We need people to volunteer to put out the books, she said. The critical times are 10 to 3 p.m. on March 19-21, the Tuesday through Thursday before the sale starts on Friday. People who are interested in volunteering can message Cole through the Facebook page “Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd Used Book Sale.”

For information updates, check the book sale’s Facebook page.

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