Going… Going… GONE! (Conclusion)

There have been many exciting happenings at St. Thomas Public Library over the last few months. We’ve packed up the books, DVDs, CDs, magazines, chairs, tables, computers – the whole lot! We’ve sorted and carted, stored and organized all of the contents from 153 Curtis St. and we’ve opened our doors at Elgin Mall.

One of the most exciting, and challenging, occurrences was the Book and Furnishings Auction which was held at 153 Curis St. on Saturday, March 19, 2011. The auction was conducted in association with Cosens Auctions but was primarily manned by St. Thomas Public Library staff. It was an interesting experience for those of us who worked the sale.

We’re accustomed to a fast pace, after all, St. Thomas Public Library services an average of 850 customers a day, but the auction was a new experience in busyness for most of us.

The doors opened at 9 am for 2 hours of viewing and almost 50 people were anxiously waiting for the doors to be unlocked. The viewing for the antique books was hopping! St. Thomas Public Library staff were kept on their toes while potential bidders lined up against the table calling out the lot numbers of the items they wished to view. Staff searched for lot numbers while diligently maintaining the organization system and trying not to trip over one another. Please bear in mind, there were over 400 lots which could be comprised of single volumes, multiple volumes or a box of volumes.

Once the viewing ended at 11 am the actual auction began. Mark Cosens started the auction off with the furnishings; chairs, tables, cabinets, even a stove all went to the highest bidders. At the completion of the furnishings auction there was a short break before beginning the book auction.

There was a buzz of excitement in the air as the bidders selected their seats and settled in. The goal was to auction off 100 lots in one hour – almost 2 lots per minute. That’s some fast talking!

St. Thomas Public Library staff worked alongside Mark Cosens, holding lots up while he auctioned each lot to the collectors and historians gathered around what had once been the Administration area. He kept the pace going, transitioning from lot to lot at a tempo that was a challenge for an inexperienced auction goer, such as me, to keep up with.  St. Thomas Public Library staff worked conscientiously to maintain the numbering system and keep pace with the auctioneer.

Having achieved his goal of auctioning 100 lots per hour, the auction did wrap up around 4 o’clock that afternoon. The check-out station was a blur of activity as bidders settled their accounts and collected their purchases.

It was an exciting, if tiring, experience for many of the staff who participated that day. Over $8,300 was raised to help with the Revitalization Project so it was a lucrative undertaking and, I for one, thoroughly enjoyed it.

-HM

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