AURELIUS | With bags and boxes in hand, the dozens of people in line stormed the roped-off food court at Fingerlakes Mall at 10 a.m. on the dot, and not a second later.
The 22nd annual Book Bonanza began Saturday, and several people from around the community came out to get their hands on some new reading material at a discounted price. For prices as low as 50 cents for a paperback or children's book, thousands of books were for sale in more than 50 different categories. All of the books for sale were donated, and all of the proceeds from the event benefit St. Joseph School.
"We're collecting books all year long and sorting them," said Michele Murphy, a volunteer who has children currently attending St. Joseph, "and I think this year's turnout seems greater than usual."
Murphy said that this is one of the biggest fundraisers that the school does each year and helps bring in a lot of money to benefit the students.
"It's a lot of work but it's a good thing," she said.
At the front of the line that wrapped around the edges of the mall was Frank Dickey, of Marcellus, who arrived at 7 a.m. Saturday to secure his place before the rest of the crowd.
"I come for the baseball books, and I usually walk away with about 10 of them," Dickey said. "It's just something to do and it's fun."
Several of the people there have been frequenting the book sale for many years, like Syracuse resident Sandy Lalonde and her daughter, Jill Lalonde, who works as an English teacher in Oriskany.
"I've been coming here since I was little and now I'm trying to find some good resources to inspire the kids," said Jill.
She explained that she is in the process of creating a library swap program in her classes that will encourage students to read, even if they don't have the resources to do obtain the books themselves.
"This way, they can borrow a book and keep it if they like it, or they can bring it back and pass it on to someone else, like paying it forward," Lalonde said.
As she shuffled through the thousands of books available at this year's sale, Lalonde said she was grateful for the sale and what it offers to the community.
"It's just great to come here," she said. "It always helped me when I was younger and now I just hope I can use it to help someone else."