When an organization collects 40,000 books for a sale and endeavors to sell all those books in four days, drastic sales measures may be employed. The Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society (LMHS) takes on such a challenge with by-the-box discounts beginning on the third day of its annual Bookworm Frolic. On the final day, the box price will be even lower. Although LMHS provides boxes, bookworms may bring their own. "The rule is for it to count, you have to be able to lift (the box of books) yourself," explained Joel Nofziger, LMHS director of communications, who added jokingly, "Don't bring a refrigerator box."
This year's LMHS Bookworm Frolic will take place at LMHS, 2215 Millstream Road, Lancaster, from Wednesday, Aug. 15, through Saturday, Aug. 18. The Frolic will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day except for Aug. 18, when the sale will close at 4 p.m.
According to Jon Weaver-Kreider, used book manager for LMHS, who is helming this year's sale, books that have been collected for the Frolic fit into more than 20 categories. "We have a lot of theology and religion, history and politics," said Weaver-Kreider, who added that he had counted 113 boxes of children's books. Weaver-Kreider listed cookbooks, fiction, novels, and Christian fiction among the other categories that will be well represented at the sale. A number of foreign language books in German were also donated for the Frolic. While most of the books available for purchase will be set up outside the LMHS building under a tent, the music section and new books, which will be sold at special discount prices during the sale, will be located inside.
Weaver-Kreider noted that food at this year's sale will be provided by food trucks. "On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, we will have Italian sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, and hot dogs, and on Saturday, we will have breakfast burritos, burgers, sandwiches, saffron and jasmine rice, kabobs, and Costa Rican chicken sandwiches," said Weaver-Kreider, who added that the food trucks were selected for the diverse menus they offer.
According to Nofziger, nothing donated for the sale will end up in the trash. "At the very end of the sale, we allow organizations to bid by category," Nofziger explained. "On Saturday, if there's a category an organization is interested in, they can make a bid to buy all the books in that category that do not sell, and they just have to come and collect them." Organizations that have an interest in buying a lot of books may contact Weaver-Kreider at 717-393-9745. Items that are not purchased are recycled to raise funds for Mennonite Central Committee Relief and Development projects.
A number of volunteers help make the Bookworm Frolic a success. Weaver-Kreider calculated that 20 volunteers are needed daily to help during the sale, and that about 100 volunteers are involved in the overall event. During the year, up to 30 volunteers help sort incoming book donations.
The sale attracts about 4,000 visitors annually, raising up to $40,000 for the organization. All funds raised by the event become part of the general operating budget of the historical society.
Readers who would like to learn more about the historical society may visit http://www.lmhs.org.