Sunday, July 19, 2009

Friends of the Wellfleet Libraries Hold Annual Book Sale

Wellfleet has a special relationship with books. First we had Edmund Wilson and Dwight Macdonald, titans of the 1940s critical world. Nabokov visited Wilson. Wilson married Mary McCarthy. Perhaps this literary connection was what drew Elaine McIlroy to our sleepy little town in the early 1970s. Elaine transformed the Wellfleet Public Library into one of the very best libraries in the country. Money was raised for a new home in a renovated former candle factory. More recently, Elaine spearheaded a drive to finance solar panels for its roof. Citizens who love to read flocked to her side, creating the Friends of the Wellfleet Libraries, which meets monthly and sponsors two annual book sales. The first was to take place last Sunday but it was postponed due to rainy conditions. The book sale is being held today until 1 pm. Since morning means breakfast preparation for me, I rarely get down in time for the opening rush towards the special volumes table. Today's collection of books was especially impressive and throngs of people made it to the sale before I did. All the same, I found a hardback copy of one of my favorite books, Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones, which made me happy. Young Madison was also very pleased with her purchases. I heard a man speaking into a cell phone, "I'm at the sale!" There was a pause. "Why, at town hall, of course!" he yelled, as if it were the only sensible place to be. Who knows what one may find? Authors often have copies of books that have been signed by other authors, who were friends. Their descendants sometimes donate them for the sale, and they end up on the tables outside town hall. We can all be grateful to the volunteers who make Wellfleet's book sale such a success. The second sale of the summer will be held August 9th. Don't miss it!