When we started this little convention of booklovers we call the Book Fair, it was a weekend event. People had to do all their shopping on Saturday and Sunday.
After a year or two, somebody came up with the idea of a Preview Night for Associates of the library. For reasons which were never made clear to me, this was Thursday night. The arrangement worked very nicely: we had Thursday night as a sort of trial run, all of Friday to clean up after the early birds, and then Saturday and Sunday for the selling of books. This schedule remained in effect for several years.
I think it was Evelyn Lampe who kept pushing for us to sell books on Friday, too, since we were all set up anyhow. The Powers That Were accepted this, particularly after the first year when they found that the extra day did NOT draw income away from Saturday and Sunday. Only a few years after that, they decided to add another whole day of income by pushing the Preview Night back to Wednesday night. Thursday night remained a 4 P.M. to 8 P.M. event for a little while (no one believed people would turn out to buy books on a weekday. Friday, they figured, was just the start of the weekend for people.) Then it became a full Book Fair Day like Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And there things have stayed ever since.
It isn’t for lack of suggestions, though. We’ve had a number of possible rescheduled Book Fairs, in varying degrees of ingenuity.
SIX DAY BOOK FAIRS: There were two of these. One involved adding a Preview Preview on Tuesday night, for people who were high-level Associates. (I don’t know if the level was ever decided on—since we never did it—but it would have been a four-figure number.) Another plan would have extended us the other direction, with Half Price Day falling on Monday rather than Sunday. This was suggested by someone who, deep in her heart, felt that buying books on a Sunday was sinful, but couldn’t stay away from Half-Price Day. Adding that extra day would have quieted her conscience.
THREE DAY BOOK FAIR: There are those who feel the whole affair is a disruption of the Library’s routine, and needs to be cut back as much as possible. I understand this: it’s kind of a disruption of MY routine, taking in the banana boxes filled with accounting textbooks and then sitting down while my blood pressure returns to normal. The objection that a three-day Book Fair wouldn’t bring in as much money was dismissed by the proponents of this plan. We could easily make as much in three days as we were making in five. We never found out how that would work, because at the same time, someone else suggested a
SEVEN DAY BOOK FAIR: This person felt adding two days would add two more days’ worth of income, which has a certain appeal. They spoiled it by adding that it would also add two more days’ worth of volunteer fatigue and staff burnout. But it was easier to understand than the plan for the
SIXTEEN DAY BOOK FAIR: Someone tried to fix the Seven Day Book Fair problems by proposing a Book Fair in which we would open on Sunday, be closed to tidy up on Monday, open again on Tuesday, clean up on Wednesday, reopen on Thursday, and so forth. This idea never got off the drawing board because somehow the person who came up with it accidentally got something mixed in her coffee one morning. A hand grenade, I think it was.