Anyone driving past the downtown branch of the West Florida Public Library on Jan. 30 will be reminded just how much people love a good book — and a good deal.

The Friends of the West Florida Public Library are hosting their second annual $5 bag book sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with all proceeds being used to further strengthen Escambia County’s public library system through programs, collection building and other needs as they arise.

Regular attendees of the sale often set their alarms early so they can be some of the first people to dig through the piles of books spread out on tables throughout the library’s main floor.

“The Blowout Bag Sale is just such a great deal — $5 for as many books as you can fit in a big, brown paper bag,” said Joe Vinson, a board member for Friends of WFPL. “It’s first-come first-serve, so it definitely helps to arrive early, but sometimes we’ll bring out new books as space becomes available on the tables.”

Vinson says many people spend hours pouring over the books and end up finding several on their second or third time around the tables that weren’t out originally.

The $5 sale doesn’t include CDs or audio books like the annual spring library sale does, just traditional books.

“I still haven’t fully embraced ebooks or apps like Audible — there’s really no comparison for me when it comes to actually holding a nice, worn book,” said Jennifer Leigh.

Leigh frequents the library and is excited to participate in the bag sale.

“And for $5 a bag, I can support the local community versus shopping online,” she said.

The books are comprised of a hearty mix of genres, styles and age ranges, and Vinson explains they are not sorted like the books are for the library’s big fall sale.

“The really old ones, pre-1940s, usually get pulled out to sell at the Collectors Corner in the big spring and fall sales, but there are usually some real neat ’50s to ’70s books,” he said.

Old, new, fiction or true, the $5 sale has been able to get the community excited about bringing new books into their home.

Linda Williams, president of the Friends of the WFPL, said their first bag sale had people lined up around the block.

“We had all these books that we didn’t normally put in our big, three-day sale, like vintage encyclopedias, and we weren’t sure if people were going to buy some of it, but they did. We made over $3,000 for our first bag sale,” she said.

Friends of the WFPL has been around for 42 years, and has raised $2 million dollars for local public libraries, Williams added.

A team of 10 to 15 dedicated volunteers sorts through donated books once a week, all year round, in order to prepare for the books sales.

“Every single penny we raise goes toward the libraries and helping them with their programs and children’s events,” Williams said. “So you know when you buy a book it’s for a really good purpose.”

Want to go?

What: $5 Blowout Bag Sale

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30 

Where: West Florida Public Library Main Branch, 239 N. Spring St.