May Book Sale at Marathon County Public Library :: Get a Jump on Your Summer-Reading Needs

Written by Chad Dally

Book Sale Browsers

In one corner, sits a detailed account of the Watergate scandal. In another, DVDs and Xbox games for the kids and grandkids. Over here, sit audiobooks and CDs for your next road trip. Over there, you’ll find gardening and landscaping guides, artwork, cookbooks, graphic novels for teens, children’s books, and SO MUCH MORE…

What is this strange place with all this eclectic merchandise? The Friends of the Marathon County Public Library’s Book Sale! (Though calling it a “book” sale doesn’t fully encompass all of the interesting material available.)

Held several times each year, the next MCPL Book Sale is just around the corner — starting on Thursday, May 18, 2017, at 5 p.m. with an exclusive preview sale for members of the Friends group. (If you’re not yet a member of the Friends of MCPL, you should consider joining — You can even do so on the spot on May 18!)

The Book Sale opens to the general public on Friday, May 19, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., continues on Saturday, May 20, and wraps up on Sunday, May 21, from 1–4 p.m. with the always-popular bag sale: All you can fit in a bag for $6! 

One thing people may not realize is {announcer voice} our LOW, LOW PRICES! Most materials are around $1, others are 50 cents, and some of the vintage items, artwork, video games, etc., may cost a bit more.

Library Book Sale Browsers

So, where does all this stuff come from?

Throughout the year, a dedicated group of volunteers — MCPL Friends — sifts through piles of items donated to the library. Not all of it makes the cut for inclusion in the sale. (Unfortunately, those encyclopedia sets just don’t sell like they used to!) After years of culling through donations, our Friends have a pretty good eye for what the public might want. Also, the library’s collection development team occasionally plucks items from our shelves that are either outdated or haven’t been checked out in years. Some of that material finds a temporary home in the MCPL Book Sale, and hopefully a permanent home with shoppers!

Lest anyone think we’re profiting from donated items, rest assured that every dollar from the Book Sale finds its way back to the library in a variety of ways…

Some of the proceeds fund grants for projects at one or more of MCPL’s nine locations, or go toward equipment and other materials we need.

During the annual Festival of the Arts in Wausau, our MCPL Friends hit the streets and use Book Sale proceeds to purchase new artwork to add to our collection — artwork our patrons can check out to decorate their homes for up to 2 months at a time!


The bulk of the proceeds — tens of thousands of dollars each year — funds some of the thousands of programs the library organizes each year.

Did you and your kids enjoy any of the performers during our Summer Library Program, or did any of you adults listen to an author read from his or her work? Chances are, funding for those programs was generously provided to the library by the Friends group.

Book sale

The phrase “win-win” might be cliché, but in this case, it’s an apt description for the MCPL Book Sale… You get to take home a great book, movie, or CD (or all of the above!), and the money you spend helps support some of the great things our libraries contribute to communities across Marathon County.

The May sale will likely be the last one held on the third floor of the Wausau Headquarters. We’ve built a new home for the Friends in the lower level of the building, facing the west parking lot. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s coming along nicely.


We’re hoping for a great turnout this time around to substantially reduce the amount of material — That means less for us to move from the top floor to the bottom. Please share this May MCPL Book Sale message with your friends so they can get in on the great deals to be had, too!

Depending on how much material is left after the May sale — and how much material the Friends will be able to fit in their new space — we might have a follow-up “Moving Sale” down the line, so stay tuned for that.

As always, THANK YOU for supporting the Marathon County Public Library!

Chad Dally - MCPL - Library SpecialistChad Dally

Library Specialist  |  Marathon County Public Library

Chad Dally is a library specialist with the Marathon County Public Library, where he’s worked since 2012. He splits his time at the library between reference and programming, and generally prefers to read nonfiction over fiction. He’s heard chickens are smart, but the small brood he keeps at home provides evidence to the contrary.  Email Chad Dally


Library Book Sales have been a part of my family’s life for years. If the exposed ductwork and barebones walls of the library’s third floor have kept you from coming in the past, I hope their newly constructed Friends room — scheduled to be finished in time for the next sale in summer — will inspire you to attend.

Here are but a few ways my family has benefitted from these library sales as my children have grown from tots to tweens/teens…

  • When my kids were BABIES AND TODDLERS — I would LOAD UP on children’s books so I had extras for the car, grandma’s house, outside picnics, etc., and didn’t care if I misplaced them. What’s more, as a busy new mom, I learned the art of Crock-Pot cooking with a handy cookbook I got from the Library Book Sale.
  • As my kids entered GRADE SCHOOL — The Library Book Sales were a great source of affordable chapter books. My kids tended to read chapter books only one time, so I didn’t invest in brand-new chapter books the way I sometimes did with board and picture books, which we read together over and over. Plus, my son got great deals on Xbox video games he wanted to try — priced super-low so kids can afford buying them with their own money!
  • Upon reaching MIDDLE SCHOOL — We nabbed skit books for Forensics competitions. (Sidenote: My daughter’s 7th grade group won 1st Place this year with a play she chose from a book we got at the Library Book Sale.) In addition, I picked up two copies of the novel Treasure Island (for a buck each!) and then headed downstairs and checked out the audiobook from the library so my kiddos could each follow along in the car on a family road trip we took. I also picked up a blank Birding journal from the sale for my son, who was studying migratory birds in school and wanted to go birding.

I could go on and on about the UTTER JOY we’ve experienced from the treasures my kids and I have found at these library sales.

I encourage you to come early and seek thoroughly — The HUNT is half the FUN! There’s great stuff at the Library Book Sale just waiting for YOU to discover it.


 Sarah Thurs, The Polished Pen

Sarah Thurs, of The Polished Pen
Online Editor for Wisconsin Central Time NEWS

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