Thursday, July 14, 2005


For book buyers, Quaker sale has ’em covered

Fall River Herald News/Fall River/MA/USA/10-Jul-05

….. WESTPORT -- Need a book that will tell you how to fix that old Datsun sitting in your driveway?
For $1 it can be yours during the Quaker Meeting House’s annual book sale at 938 Main Road.

The sale kicked off Saturday morning with young and old waiting, many with empty bags and boxes in hand, for the clock to strike 11 a.m.

That one click of the clock, signaled by the blowing of a whistle, caused a stampede for books on everything from traveling to Orlando, Fla., to how to teach English to middle schoolers.

Dr. J.K. Stewart Kirkaldy, an organizer of the book sale, said somewhere between 25,000 and 30,000 books were available for sale under two separate tents and inside two buildings.

"They’re all over the place," Kirkaldy said.

Money derived from the sale of the books, which comes mostly through donations, is used for a number of different purposes, Kirkaldy said.

For the most part, he said, it is used for upkeep and maintenance on the group’s buildings and grounds. Funds are also used for various charities, including $900 given to tsunami relief efforts last year and money given to local families who need assistance with bills.

"We do quite a lot like that," Kirkaldy said.

While Kirkaldy was happy to see the Meeting House’s largest annual fund-raiser get off to a successful start, many were just as pleased with the books they were hauling away.

"I got all of this for $18.50," Mitty Shaughnessy of Westport exclaimed while holding a canvas tote bag filled to the brim with books. "I’ve got at least 10 books here."

Shaughnessy said her strategy was to stand in between the novels and mystery sections, getting there 15 minutes before the whistle blew.

No strategy was needed for Dorothy Ryan of Westport, who was making her first trip to the book sale. Ryan said she was just "roaming around" in an effort to find some books to make her work commute a little easier.

"I live right in town but I never seem to drop by," Ryan said after purchasing a stack of novels. "This morning I said I would hit this because I read during my commute a lot. This is, like, the most fabulous thing."

Alan Riendeau, also of Westport and making his first trip to the book sale, said this would not be his last trip.

"I saw it in the paper and thought I would look for some stuff to read," Riendeau said. "There’s quite a variety. It’s quite crowded but you can still get around. There’s a lot of big name authors and people I’m familiar with. I will definitely be back."

The annual book sale begin in 1962, according to Kirkaldy, so the group could raise money to repair the roof on the building they own across the street from the Meeting House.

He said that first year they were able to raise about $125, which proved to be just enough for the repairs. The fund-raiser brings in substantially more now for one main reason, Kirkaldy said.

"It’s the prices as much as anything else," he said. "Basically we sell everything for 10 percent of the original cost."

Kirkaldy said the book sale will continue into next week or until it looks like the remaining books have been completely picked through.

"We leave it open forever," he said. "If it gets late and its time to leave we just leave a coffee can out with some change and go by the honor system. We may have lost some funds over the years, but I think it’s a good way to do it. Sometimes you just have to have faith in humanity." …….


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