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Friends of the Library spring book sale this weekend

Photo by Brandon Hicks

The Carter County Work Crew helps the Friends of the Library set up for the spring book sale.

The Friends of the Library organization is back on track with a new location and is ready to host its annual spring book sale.
The Friends had to take a break from the fall fundraiser after losing the American Legion facility, where the event had been held and the books and supplies had been stored.
Now the sale has a new home at the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation building, and the fundraiser will be taken off the shelf.
“The community really rallied around us when they heard we had lost the place to have the sale,” said sale coordinator Lilo Duncan. “We had offers to host the sale and we had people offer us places to store our tables and books. It was amazing.”
Now that the events are back on, the spring edition will be the first of two fundraisers this year. The sales, conducted in the spring and fall, have been held for more than 15 years and help to pay extra costs not covered in the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library budget.
Proceeds have helped provide library equipment, tile flooring around the information desk, all the holiday decorations for the library, a rug for the children’s reading room, the ramp for the back entrance to the library, landscaping, a children’s computer station, children’s furniture, shelving and book bags for the Eli’s BRAY program, which takes books from the library into county and city schools.
Proceeds were also used to buy the new book drop box that is outside the library.
The new box offers separate deposit slots for traditional books and another for audio books and DVDs, protecting the more delicate items from the larger, heavier books. The new box also provides better protection from the weather. The proceeds also purchased more new shelving for the library.
Duncan said a decision hasn’t been made on how this year’s sale proceeds would be used. The Friends of the Library also gives money each year to the Carter County Imagination Library and to the downtown Holiday Lighting fund.
“The city gives quite a bit of money to the library,” Duncan said. “This allows them to buy the things they need but wouldn’t have been able to afford.”
Last year, the group raised approximately $6,000 for the library through the two sales. Duncan noted that number grows every year.
The books, which are donated to the group, are sold at $1 for a hardback book and 50 cents for paperback books, which have been the prices at the book sale for many years.
Duncan said all the money the Friends of the Library earns goes back to the Elizabethton library in some way. In addition to purchases, the Friends allocate money for the children’s reading program. The allocation was recently increased to $500 from $200. The Friends also make a contribution to the Imagination Library.
The book sale offers between 10,000 and 12,000 books each year that are donated from various groups and individuals in the community. The books are on all topics and genres including fiction, mystery, suspense, health, religion, sports, cookbooks, children’s books, history and more.
“We have a large variety of books,” Duncan said. “We have fiction, mystery, suspense, health, religion, sports, cookbooks. We have a good selection to choose from.”
Duncan stated the large number of books was the reason behind the decision to switch from one sale per year to two.
“We had so many books that we had to expand to two sales because one sale couldn’t hold them all,” she said. “Many more people donate books to the sale every year. We are overwhelmed with all the books we have.”
The sales see a lot of repeat customers who take advantage of the varied selection and the low prices.
“A lot of people wait for these sales all year and use them as an opportunity to stock up,” Duncan said. “We have a lot of big purchases. We would like to pick up some more customers this year. Business has never been slow and there has never been a lack of customers.”
Some interior designers and private individuals will cruise the sale looking for unusual books to use for decorations. Mothers who home school their children are also big customers for the sale and take advantage of the different textbooks and encyclopedias that are available. Book dealers visit the sale to stock up on titles they can resell to their customers.
The Friends of the Library receives a large amount of assistance from the Carter County Work Crew. The crew moves the books from the drop-off location at the library to the legion building throughout the year. They also help set up the books before the sale and help to clean up afterwards.
It takes the Friends and the crew almost two full days to prepare for the weekend sale. The group begins setup Wednesday morning and will work most of that day and all day Thursday.
“We don’t know how long it would take us to set up without the work crew,” Duncan said. “Without the crew we wouldn’t be able to have the sale. They are so cooperative and work with us. We probably could not do the sale without the help from these boys.”
The book sale is held in the Parks and Rec building on Mill Street. The sale begins on Thursday night from 6 to 8 p.m. for members.
The sale will be open to the general public starting on Friday, April 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The sale will continue on Saturday, April 26, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be no book sale on Sunday.
The Friends of the Library is always accepting new members. Dues are $10 a year. Interested individuals can get more information or join the Friends at the book sale.