How to Make the Most of a Library Book Sale


A few weeks ago while visiting the library, I noticed a flier for the upcoming annual library book sale. I quickly made a mental note to write it on my calendar later. I love the library and books, so this was one of those mental notes that actually made it to my calendar. Yay!

The sale was Saturday and I was able to get there 30 minutes after opening while books still flooded the tables and floors. After nearly 2 hours of searching, I came out with 46 books for only $23!!! All children’s books for homeschooling or reading pleasure.

Library Book Sale Tips


After my trip I realized while I had a good focus there were a few things I could have done differently to make for a smoother, more beneficial sale.

1. Know What You’re Looking For

The biggest part of going into a library sale, when there are literally hundreds of books (maybe even thousands) to sift through, is to know what you’re looking for.

I came knowing I wanted books to supplement our Montessori home, particularly looking for books pertaining to culture, geography, and sciences. I love the True Book series for the continents and was able to find 4 of those, as well as 6 of the 9 books in a Biomes series.

I picked up a few DK books on subjects I knew my boys are interested in (trains, space, knights) and that we’d likely revisit in a theme. Joey’s showed an interest in natural disasters lately (particularly tornadoes and volcanoes) and since we’re planning to study weather in the fall, I figured why not.

I also managed to find a DK book on animals broken up by continent, a book on children in different cultures, and archaeology.

I also found a few fiction books, keeping mostly to classic children’s books or one’s our family loves. Who would have thought I’d find a Mo Willems book! And The Little House…one of my favorites.

2. Leave the Kids at Home

For a tiny bit, I thought it would be fun to make it a family trip. I’m glad I didn’t.

The kids would have quickly gotten bored and in the way, especially when trying to focus on finding other books in a series (there was no order in the books).

3. Bring Extra Bags or Suitcase

I only brought one canvas bag for books. I realized that it was not enough–it quickly filled and was quite heavy.

The library had plenty of empty boxes available, so I grabbed one of those and filled it, even though it was quite cumbersome to carry a bag of boxes on my shoulder and push the box with my foot. Thankfully, a library worker saw me and gave me a dolly to cart the box around.

Lesson to be learned: bring more bags or a friend to help carry bags. One older homeschool mama even brought a roller suitcases!

4. Have a Budget & Know the Pricing

Before coming into the sale know the max you want to spend. For me, it was $40. I came in not sure if the pricing was $1 per children’s book or 2/$1, since the ad was hard to read.

Once at the sale I found it was 2 children’s books for $1, whether they were hardback or paperback, which made for a very profitable sale for me.

5. Be Prepared to Streamline

With so many great books to choose for at cheap prices, it’s hard to not want to grab everything. There were hundreds of books on countries, states, and specific cultures or time periods. I could have easily gone home with a hundred books, but I continually reminded myself that I was looking to add books to our collection that would be useful and I’d like to have as part of our standard homeschooling library.

When I found books I liked, but weren’t as general as continents or basic geography, I reminded myself I’d still have the library available to check out those type of books.


What would tips would you add? Have you found any great find from library or garage sales?

1 comment… add one

  • Nabiha December 25, 2012, 2:41 pm

    Great tips there! I think also writing down a list of specific topics and themes that you’re looking for before going to the sale would be helpful since one could be overwhelmed and disoriented by the sheer number of titles available so cheaply…just like going to a supermarket during sale time and getting so busy checking out the discounted stuff that you actually forget what you came for!

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