After hunting through shelves upon shelves, patrons hoist armfuls of boxes and bags onto the foldout tables where Christina Bailey waits to price items and help people to their cars.
“Bargain” is the word Bailey, 24, a three-year volunteer at the Mini-Mammoth Book sale, used to describe the event on Jan. 18.
Friends of the Ottawa Public Library host the Mini-Mammoth Book sale, a free public gathering where literary enthusiasts of all ages and interests are welcome to donate and pick up repurposed books at a reduced price.
Repurposed books, CDs and DVDs, a mix of community donations and discards from the library, are all available for $1 with no limit on the number of purchases between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. one Saturday every month during the school year.
Sales are held in the main lobby of the Central Archives and Library Materials Centre at 100 Tallwood Dr., where volunteers and staff members conduct all the sorting for the Ottawa Library branches.
According to Bailey, who is a Carleton graduate with a Master’s degree in legal studies, the sales are a great way for students to get rid of old or unused textbooks and pick up leisurely reading materials.
“We sometimes carry current textbooks. I have friends who go to Algonquin College and I will buy my friends books because it’s only a dollar,” said Bailey.
Although there is no guaranteed availability of particular books, new and gently used items are always found on the shelves. There is no comparable price elsewhere.
“You definitely won’t find brand new books at Chapters for this little, as where you might find them on the shelves here,” said Bailey.
For an inexpensive weekend activity, students can contribute to the sale by volunteering, donating books or browsing through the selections.
In previous years, the city’s library would host one annual Mammoth sale at the Nepean Sportsplex. Due to lack of income, the sale was nearing its dying days.
To keep the affair from going extinct, the Ottawa Public Library found a new space at city archives and an influx of participants.
Bailey said the turnout at the event every month demonstrates a real sense of community.
“People line-up at the window and peer in sometimes as early as 20 minutes beforehand.”
The next sale dates are: