Gilda Martinez looked like she had enough books to last her into the New Year as she hobbled down Paterson Plank Road. Anchored by two bags filled to the top with cookbooks and paperback titles from the mid-‘90s, Martinez said she planned to read, on average, one book every two weeks until she had exhausted her plunder from the Secaucus Public Library and Business Resource Center’s 13th Annual Mini-Fair and Books Sale, held last Saturday.
“I’m a pretty quick reader,” Martinez said. “I’ll get through most of this by Christmas, definitely before the end of February. I’ll be ready for the next Mini-Fair before the next one comes.”
Martinez was one of an estimated 3,000 residents who attended the Mini-Fair, the library’s largest fundraiser.
Hailed as another success by Mini-Fair organizers, the event is sponsored by the Friends of the Library. Each year, money raised from the event goes to support various library programs.
To breathe new life into the event, May said that Mini-Fair organizers introduced several features this year.
May said this year’s totals – both in terms of money raised and participants who attended – are up slightly from last year’s Mini-Fair.
To breathe some new life into the event, May said that Mini-Fair organizers – who included event chairman Frank Pinto, Assistant Library Director Jennifer Breuer, and committee members Karyn Lusskin and Dora Marra – introduced several features this year.
“We had a few new things this year, like the Best Buy Wii Gaming Pavilion,” May said. “That was a great addition. We had a lot of younger people trying that out. Some adults, too, but it was mainly younger people. We had some really great donations for prizes that drew people in.”
“We had a lot of books this year, a huge number of books,” she continued. “I think we had a lot more books than we’ve had in the past couple of years. We also had a new game stand. We had carnival games, instead of the dunk tank. We had a really big 50/50 [raffle], and I think that drew some people in.”
The first place cash prize for this year’s 50/50 raffle was $1,513. There were 63 prizes awarded at the Mini-Fair, including seven large prizes, all donated by local businesses and organizations.
The organizers also attracted a new crop of crafts and food vendors as well.
“I don’t know that I can say with any certainty what made people come out, but I think that those were definitely some factors,” said May.
For the book sale, attendees purchased bags for $4. Any books they could fit in them were theirs to take home. Beginning in June, residents began donating gently used paperbacks and hard cover books they wanted to donate to the sale. The library supplemented these donations with a few titles pulled from its own shelves. A number of used DVDs were also for sale. May estimated last week that about 450 bags were sold.
Proceeds from the fair will support the library’s ongoing cultural programming.
Among the programs supported are the Sunday Afternoon Concert Series, lectures, Children’s Art Month in December, and an end-of-the-year event for youngsters in the Extended Story Hour Program. Friends of the Library also help underwrite the Museum Pass Program, through which the library buys family subscriptions to four New York City museums – the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Guggenheim Museum. Secaucus families can use the subscriptions to visit the museums without having to pay the hefty admission fees. (Families are required to leave a $50 deposit with the library, which is refunded when the passes are returned on time.)
Proceeds from the Mini-Fair will also support digitization of some newspaper archives.
E-mail E. Assata Wright at email@example.com.