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Blowout Book Sale and Celebration - June, 2004

The Friends’ Blowout Book Sale ran from Saturday, June 12 through Saturday, June 19, 2004.

Knowing that the Library would be moving this summer in preparation for reconstruction of the building, we began planning for this sale last winter, aiming to sell off as much of our inventory of donated books as possible and to celebrate this major milestone in the life of our Library. Here is the original sale announcement.

The BOB, as we took to calling it informally, set records in every category. This was a sale of firsts (silent auction, the band, a tent, invited speakers) and mosts (most volunteers ever to work on a sale, most customers in line outside our door at opening, most money ever brought in during a sale).

Here are some photos from the sale and closing celebration.

The weather for the opening weekend was outstanding. The line of people waiting at the door on Saturday, June 12 at 9:00 stretched out to the street and around to the corner; when the doors opened 107 people entered.

The Silent Auction proved to be a successful experiment, with proceeds of $804. It also added a lot of fun and excitement to the sale. The display of mass market paperbacks on the lawn received a lot of attention and helped create visual excitement that benefited the indoor sale, as well. We reduced prices repeatedly during the sale, ending with three days of free books.

While maximizing revenue was not the primary goal, the book sale brought in a total of $13,321, substantially more than any of our prior sales.

The Sunday kids’ activities were a hit, especially the lemonade stand, which was manned by children and raised $73 as a kids’ contribution to the new Library. The Bobcats were great, especially our own Doug Olsen, who belted out some great tunes with voice and bass fiddle.

Several local businesses donated materials or services:

More people volunteered to help out on this sale than ever before; many were first-time volunteers. We also recruited some new Friends members.

A special event on Sunday, June 13 was the celebration of the upcoming closing of the library for reconstruction. The speeches included meditations upon the past, present and future of the Library by Lois Sockol, Jim Healy and Ann MacFate. We also heard remarks from Sen. Scott Brown and Ed Donnelly, a representative of Rep. Lida Harkins. Lois Sockol wrote this letter to the Needham Times thanking the Friends for the closing celebration.

We owe thanks to many:

Acknowledgments for the Blowout Book Sale and Celebration

The Blowout Book Sale of June 12-19 and Celebration were no ordinary events, and so the list of those who produced them is no ordinary list.

Book Sale and Silent Auction

With the hope that nobody’s name has inadvertently been omitted, the first list of credits is for the “hands on” part of the sale. Many of the volunteers served in more than one capacity and on several days in order to stage the sixty-six and a half hour final sale in the pre-demolition Community Room, staff room and outdoors.

Blowout Book Sale Chair - Greg Shesko, Silent Auction Chair - Doug Olsen, Paperback Sale Chair - Bruce Barnett, Scheduler - Mitzi Friedman; Bill Bacon, Lois Bacon, Bruce Barnett, Connie Barr, Barbara Barrett, Michael Beard, Ray Bigelow, Fran Borrelli, Jan Bowen, Robin Buratowski, Barbara Cusack, Marci Cutler, Mary Dickert, Joan Dimond, Bob Dole, Pat Dunning, Kathryn Exon, Joanne Fellerman, Pat Ferrone, Jim Fraylick, Phil Friedman, Tom Gaitley, Ted Gelsthorpe, Jeanne Gerber, Joe Gerber, Charlotte Goodman, Phyllis Hardwicke, Gail Hedges, Edward Heiman, Nancy Heiman, Patricia Henry, Marge Hunter, Barbara Irving, Sandra Jaszek, Thad Jaszek, Judy Johnson and Mary Louise Johnson.

Also, Lindsay Kiser, Chris Conroy Kristeller, Teri Lane, Judi Lasser, Kathy Lewis, Barbara Lovely, Ann MacFate, Ann DerMarderosian, Andrew Maxwell, Matt Mayerchak, Gina McClellan, David McClelland, Keith McClelland, Lynn McClelland, Mary Anne McKendall, Gwen Mecsas, Joan Mecsas, Beth Miller, Linda Novak, Doug Olsen, Margaret Pantridge, Regina Pineo, Erna Place, Richard Pollack, Sally Powers, Shirley Pratt, Joyce Preston, Susan Renaud, Susan Richman, Katie Rivard, Marguerite Ryan, Joan Santos, Jim Saum, Charlie Seidenberg, Kit Seidenberg, Jeanne Shifres, Lois Sockol, Lynne Stern, Sam Stern, Jane Swett, Joan Switzer, Tom Totten, Page vanAmson, Alex Verschoo-Kirss, Michael Verschoo-Kirss, Rein Verschoo-Kirss, Eleanor Weekes, Rachel Weinstock, Gloria Welter, Ben Winnick, Betty Wyeth, John Wyeth, Cary Young, Gabrielle Young, Sue Young, Terry Young.

Close Friends

Deserving of special mention are the library’s custodians, Ray Cranton and Angel Lopez. Their labors preceded, continued, and concluded this record event, and were invaluable. All that work, done with caring and good humor!

Once again, the library staff gave up their only retreat so that the staff room could be utilized for individually priced books on opening weekend. The Friends thank them for doing this, as well as for answering numerous phone inquiries, and for living so flexibly with scores of donated books and the Friends who prepare them for sale.


Notifying the community about the events was the work of a committee, chaired by Catherine Marenghi, with Barbara Cusack, Carol Knapton and Sandra Jaszek.

eclipse Marketing Group of Needham donated the camera-ready design for the quarter page ad which appeared in the Needham Times.

The Needham Business Association welcomed “sandwich board people” Jan Bowen, Pat Dunning, Sue Fleming and Sandra Jaszek to its June 5th event on the Town Common. They served as walking public service announcements of the Blowout Book Sale and the library’s move to High Rock School.

The Needham Channel came on Sunday afternoon, videotaping the book sale in progress and festivities on the lawn, and conducting interviews for later broadcast.

The Friends’ web site www.needhamlibrary.org [in later years changed to www.friendsneedhamlibrary.org] premiered in time to provide information about the sale.


Trader Joe’s donated a cornucopia of their most popular items to serve as an incentive for new members to join the Friends. Erna Place won the basket, and 11 individuals or families became new members. Welcome!

Roche Brothers donated extra large quantities of paper bags from both Sudbury Farms and Roche Brothers in Needham.

Throughout the year and especially for the June sale, the Friends relied upon the paid services of two Needham businesses to turn out its message. Tim at PrintMaster and his team of Diane, Mark and Scott tied down every detail of flyers and issues of The Bookbyte. Joe at Hitech Signs prepared our eye-catching signs, banners and sandwich boards.

June 13 Celebration

With full cooperation of the weather, an early afternoon gathering of honored guests and well-wishers took place under and around a tent erected near the corner of Highland Avenue and Rosemary Street. Lois Sockol, library trustees chair, Jim Healy, selectmen chair, Ann MacFate, library director, Scott Brown, state senator, and Ed Donnelly, spokesman for state representative Lida Harkins, shared thoughts for the occasion.

The Friends’ President, Margaret Pantridge, hosted the gathering and headed the celebration committee, assisted by Jan Bowen, Pat Dunning, Pat Ferrone, Patricia Henry, Sandra Jaszek, Keith McClelland and Doug Olsen.

As a gift to the Friends, The Bobcats provided music and vocals for the event. With Doug Olsen playing upright bass, Jeff Bottiger on the acoustic guitar, and Laurence Sperry on the cocktail drums, they served up an eclectic mix of blues, western swing, bluegrass, rock’n’roll, pop standards, and more. (Rustam Booz on the harmonica was unable to join in that day.)

The Library’s good neighbor, Sudbury Farms, donated two special cakes, one with the picture of the present Library, and another with an image of the new design, viewed from Rosemary Street.

Further down on the lawn, a group of Young Friends made their debut in volunteer work for the Library, selling lemonade to raise funds for the new library. Staffing the lemonade stand in shifts were Ellis Focht, Julia Gaitely, Kate Gaitely, Alex Henry, Mickey Henry, Natty King, Anya Olsen, Maggie Olsen, Kyle Pietz, Ben Smith and Garrett Walsh.

Supervising the lemonade enterprise were Diane Gaitley, Mike Henry and Maureen Olsen. Nick King transported the stand, which was kindly lent by Msgr. Haddad Middle School. Patricia Henry coordinated the activity.

Handy to the lemonade stand was a craft table with know-how provided by volunteers from Parent Talk: Cathy Aikman, Ellis Focht, Julia Shannon, Karen Shannon, Garrett Walsh and Kathy Walsh.

“Thank You”

It didn’t exactly take a village to bring about the 8-day Blowout Book Sale and afternoon of celebration, but quite a few chiefs and villagers cooperated in the special venture. Friends of the Library is grateful for the enthusiastic participation and support of every individual, group, and business who made it happen.