Annual sale raises funds for Hockessin Library programs

One of the area’s biggest pop-up used book sales is this weekend, and it’s to benefit a great cause.

The Friends of the Hockessin Library’s annual use book sale starts Friday, where for three days the Hockessin Memorial Hall will be filled with thousands upon thousands of donated books available for sale.

From a humble beginning with a few dusty boxes of books in a room at the Center for the Creative Arts, to a massive three-day event supplied by two trailer trucks full of volumes, the event is the main fundraiser for the nonprofit Friends group that helps fund various programs at the Hockessin Library.

Co-chair David Goldsworthy said that the annual sale is accomplished by the hard work of volunteers, including several from the Plummer Community Correctional Center in Wilmington, as part of the Delaware Department of Corrections work release program.

“They have strong arms and good backs, so we really need their help,” Goldsworthy said. “It’s a very good relationship – they get to get out and they actually enjoy helping.”

“I think we’re actually ahead of schedule, for a change,” said fellow co-chair Larry Thurrill, who has been a part of the sale since it began in the early 1990s.

Collection for the book sale takes place throughout the year, with designated drop-off spots located around Hockessin.

Those volumes are carefully sorted and filed by Friends’ volunteers, and are placed in boxes and loaded onto trailers only to be unloaded in about 10 hours on one day.

“Most of the 100 or so volunteers will be gone by 5 p.m., and most of the work will be done by that point,” Thurrill said.

And then by Sunday, whatever is left is re-packed, with selected volumes going to the Stocking for Soldiers organization; the rest to volume booksellers who will in turn liquidate the stock.

“I’d say we’ll sell about two-thirds of what we have here today,” Thurrill said. “It’s a very popular sale, and people come back every year because they know we have a quality selection.”

The sale typically brings in tens of thousands of dollars each year, with Goldsworthy hoping for roughly $40,000.

“And that’s an attainable number,” he said.

The sale starts Thursday night with a private sale for Friends members and is open to the public starting Friday.