Local author Mary Rubin of Hagerstown had two bags full of books and had her mom fill up two more bags so she could take home as many books as possible from the American Association of University Women book sale Thursday.
“I like history, travel, biography, mystery,” Rubin, 45, said. “I really go through all the tables.”
She said she was looking to add to her 6,000-book collection.
Her mom, Kay, 84, said that they have been going to the sale for more than 25 years.
“We’ve been going here ever since we moved to Hagerstown,” she said. “You get bargains here.”
The annual AAUW book sale tends to draw a crowd.
Coordinator Jeanne Stoner said that before the doors opened Thursday at 9 a.m., about 150 people lined up outside the Arc of Washington County on Florida Avenue. Many had bags and carts to help them stock up from a selection of around 20,000 books organized into 48 categories, in addition to CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes.
The sale continues today from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and runs Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Books will be half price Saturday, and from noon to 3 p.m. customers will be able to purchase a bag for $5 and take home as many books as they can fit in the bag, Stoner said.
“We try to price the books reasonably,” Stoner said. “We have books from the dollar range to $10.”
Electronics are all priced at $2, Stoner said.
Cathy Wisherd, who has been buying books at the AAUW sale for more than 30 years, had a cart filled to the top.
“It’s always been very crowded,” she said. “People always love this because it’s a great value. I used to wait in line for over an hour.”
New features at the sale, which is celebrating its 50-year anniversary, include a live auction with radio and television personality Lou Scally that was scheduled for Thursday and appearances from local authors such as Mary Alice Baumgardner and Herald-Mail columnist Tim Rowland Friday.
“We invited all the people who have written books in the Tri-State area to come and display and sign their books, and we hope this will draw a lot of customers,” Stoner said. “I think there are around at least a dozen” authors scheduled to show up.
Rubin, the author of seven books on the history of the area, is one of them but made sure to show up for the sale as a customer.
Over the course of 50 years, the sale has gone from being at downtown Hagerstown storefronts to the Fairgrounds to the Washington County Agricultural Education Center before moving to the Arc in 2011.
When the AAUW began holding the book sale in 1963, the proceeds were meant to help fund the construction of the Washington County Free Library in downtown Hagerstown that is now undergoing reconstruction, Stoner said. Now the money goes to scholarships and various educational programs at the library.