Volunteering at the Friends of the SFPL Book Sale

Friends of the SFPL Steps book sale

The sale in full swing

This morning I volunteered at the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library’s Steps book sale on the front steps of the main library. Volunteers arrive at 10am to help unload boxes of books off a truck (which they have to do quickly so the driver isn’t ticketed!), then set them out on tables. There’s no rhyme or reason to the order in which books are boxed or set out, and the collection runs the gamut—everything from ARCs (advance reader copies) and galleys from publishers to donated books to old or outdated library books. As soon as all the books are out of the boxes, people can start shopping, and another truck comes a little later with more books that are set out.

On a side note, I am really loving people-watching now that I’m back in San Francisco. The sale got busy really fast, and the customers were your usual Civic Center crowd, meaning just about every type you can imagine—hipsters, students, well-dressed older people, aging hippies, scruffy bums, families. Don’t get me wrong, people-watching in Japan as an outsider to the culture was interesting (especially in the cities, and especially from a fashion standpoint), but for sheer variety and a complete cross-section of every walk of life, you can’t beat San Francisco.

I didn’t really have high expectations for the book selection, but there was some great stuff—lots of ARCs for young adult fiction that isn’t out yet, a fair few classics, bestsellers from a few months or years back, even a few books in Japanese. All of the books are $1 each, but the best thing about volunteering is that you get to pick 5 free books!

Something Under the Bed Is Drooling, Running the Rift, The Diary of Anais Nin Vol. 4, Lessons from the Monk I Married, Anne of Windy Poplars


I’m especially excited about Running the Rift, which I’ve been wanting to read ever since I read about it in Shelf Awareness last year. But my to-read pile is getting out of control and it’s only going to get worse if I keep volunteering, so I think I’m going to take a “reading day” sometime this week and go to Dolores Park or a cafe and just spend the day reading.

Anyway, here’s the information on the sale if you’d like to check it out:

Friends of the SFPL Steps sales
Wednesdays through October, 11am-3pm
Main Library (100 Larkin St.)
For volunteer information click here

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