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Book Sale Draws Hundreds to Vienna Community Center

25,000 books and more than 70 volunteers bring two-day Historic Vienna, Inc.’s sale to life.

Shoppers take their time looking through the 1,200 boxes of books at Historic Vienna, Inc.’s book sale at the Vienna Community Center.

Shoppers take their time looking through the 1,200 boxes of books at Historic Vienna, Inc.’s book sale at the Vienna Community Center. Photos by Donna Manz

When the doors opened at the Vienna Community Center on June 8, welcoming buyers to the annual Historic Vienna, Inc. [HVI] book sale, more than 25,000 books awaited them.

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Shoppers walked around the tables, browsing through 25,000 books.

And this is one well-organized book sale. Books were arranged by genre, from mystery and novels to reference books and cookbooks. “Treasures,” those books that are rare or vintage, have their own nook. For youngsters, the big draw is the enormous children’s section. And something for every reading inclination at low prices. Late Sunday afternoon, prices went yet lower as the fill-a-bag for $5 went into effect.

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The children’s section, about six tables long, offered books for toddlers and for teens, from the classics to contemporary motifs.

“We love books and I love poems,” said Tweety Dong of Vienna, filling up a bag Sunday. She slowly turned the pages of a book of love poems whose illustrations brought images of reflection to mind. She had made a visit to the book sale the day before. “The reason we like HVI’s book sale is because people in the Vienna area are well-traveled, educated, with so many interests, there’s no way you’ll walk out without buying a book.” Dong’s husband, who has worked at the Library of Congress for 25 years, “loves treasures,” Tweety Dong said. As she spoke, Woody Dong was behind the ropes, going through the “treasures.”

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Sometimes, you just really had to stand on your tip-toes to get a look at the children’s books.

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Yash Shekar and his mother Richa Varshney picked up reference books and fiction. Yash said he particularly likes action and science fiction. Varshney found biology books for Yash, too.

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Tweety Dong found books of poems and her husband Woody found “treasures.” They were both happy with their finds.

The Vienna Community Center was a new venue in 2013 for the book sale. Traditionally, it has been held on the grounds of Freeman House where tables and tents were set up on the lawn. Children had their own area to peruse through the books and sit on the grass looking through them. It was a bit different this year, a bit more challenging for the children to reach the books on the table. Next year, volunteers mentioned, they will try to incorporate benches for children to stand on or they will lower the books. That challenge did not appear to slow down buyers of children’s books. The hundreds and hundreds of children’s book that started out on Saturday had dwindled down to just a few dozen by close of sale.

Richa Varshney and her son Yash Shekar carried out a box and a full bag on Saturday. Yash, a rising seventh grader, said he likes coming to the book sale because “there is a wide range of books and you can get a lot for the money.” His mother agreed, adding, “We get to browse through a lot of books, sometimes getting familiar with new topics.” Her box held biology books, in anticipation of her son’s use in things like the Science Olympiad.

“This is a great community service project,” said HVI Board member David Shelby, noting that it took more than 70 volunteers, from HVI members to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to support from the Town of Vienna Department of Parks and Recreation to “accomplish this project.”

Proceeds from the annual mega-book sale support programs and exhibitions of Historic Vienna, Inc. HVI anchors the Church Street Holiday Stroll and runs Freeman Store.

The historic Freeman House on Church Street is owned by the Town of Vienna and operated by HVI volunteers.

“The HVI book sale is recycling at its finest,” said Shelby.

Historic Vienna, Inc. welcomes new members. To learn more about HVI or to join, go to www.historicviennainc.org.