Patrick Henry Library Book Sale Draws Community

Patrick Henry Library Book Sale Draws Community

Two-day spring sale sells donated books of every genre.

Childrens’ books were placed on floor level for children to sort through. One little girl called the books “amazing.”

Childrens’ books were placed on floor level for children to sort through. One little girl called the books “amazing.” Photo by Donna Manz.

It took a year of planning and collecting, approximately 15 volunteers and more than 2,000 books to carry off the spring book sale hosted by Friends of Patrick Henry Library. The two-day sale, spread over April 13 and 14, took over the front lawn, the event room and an area of the children’s department. When the book sale opened to the public at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 13, a waiting line had already formed.


Adult books were sorted by genre and cookbooks sold like “hotcakes,” one volunteer said. No pun intended.

Books were arranged by genre and cost anywhere from a low of 25 cents to $4 for specialty books. On the second day of the sale, customers filled grocery bags for a flat charge of $5.

Out front were mysteries and romance novels and inside sat cookbooks, travel books, philosophy, history and cultural books. At 10:15 a.m., the room was packed.

In the children’s department, about a dozen boxes filled with board books, soft covers, hard covers, picture books and narratives were set on the floor at preschooler level. Children and their moms and dads sorted through the multitude of children’s books, pulling out whatever attracted their attention.

Friends of Patrick Henry holds two book sales each year, a fall sale and a spring sale. The fall book sale is scheduled for Nov. 2 and 3, 2013.


Shoppers lined up for Patrick Henry Library’s book sale before it opened on April 13. Books were outside and inside.

Friends President Karen O’Mera estimates that their book sales bring in between $4,000 and $7,000 a year, with all proceeds going back to Patrick Henry Library for items and programs Fairfax County does not supply. “We’re happy with anything we make,” said O’Meara. “Whatever the library asks for, we try to do.”

When the library’s summer reading program ends this year, participants will receive customized t-shirts compliments of Friends of Patrick Henry. This year, the county permitted Friends groups to buy magazines out of the county library budget.


Preschoolers, young students, moms, dads and grandparents sifted through the boxes of children’s books.

A special treat for children is the new puppet theatre and additional musical instruments to be used in children’s programs. Friends of Patrick Henry Library paid for those, as well.

“Friends’ support makes us more successful at our core jobs,” said Assistant Branch Manager Deborah Smith-Cohen.

Books not sold at Patrick Henry’s spring book sale are given to Historic Vienna, Inc. to sell at its annual June mega-sale, planned this year for June 8 and 9, 2013. HVI’s book sale, offering thousands and thousands of books of every genre, has changed its location from the grounds of Freeman House to the Vienna Community Center, instead. Donated books—no magazines, text books or encyclopedias—may be dropped off at Freeman Store at any time during store hours, Wednesday through Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m., or left on the front porch at any time. This fair, HVI’s largest fundraiser, draws readers from throughout Northern Virginia as well as dealers.