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Friends of the Library ready (another) one for the books

Photo by Brandon Hicks Alta Barwick and Robin Loessberg organize books that will be sold in the Friends of the Library book sale.

Photo by Brandon Hicks
Alta Barwick and Robin Loessberg organize books that will be sold in the Friends of the Library book sale.

Bargain shoppers looking for a good deal on a good read should plan a trip to the Friends of the Library used book sale this weekend.
Not only does the book sale offer a variety of books for sale, it also offers shopping for a good cause. All the funds raised goes to supplement needs at the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library.
The Friends of the Library has been holding biannual sales – one in the spring and one in the fall – for more than 10 years. The only exception is when the sale had to be canceled last fall when the group lost the previous facility where the sale had been held.
The book sales are the only fundraisers the Friends of the Library holds to help raise money for the library.
Proceeds from the book sales have helped to provide library equipment, the tile flooring around the information desk, all the holiday decorations for the library, a rug for the children’s reading room, computers and furniture for the children’s reading area and the ramp for the back entrance to the library.
Sale coordinator Lilo Duncan said some of the major purchases from the sale’s proceeds were shelves for the children’s books, new furniture for the children’s section and two new Christmas trees last year. Sale proceeds were used for a new drop-box outside the library and book bags for a school outreach program.
“The city gives quite a bit of money to the library,” said Duncan. “This allows them to buy the things they need but wouldn’t have been able to afford. What they do is make a wish list of what they want and bring it before the (library) board for approval.”
Duncan said she wasn’t sure what the proceeds would be used for this year, but that any extra funds would be used to buy building blocks for the library’s children’s program, the Lego Club.
“We are still trying to catch up from where we couldn’t have the book sale last fall,” Duncan said.
The Friends have been able to raise more money at their new location in the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department building on Mill Street. In the spring sale, she said, the group collected more than $4,000 for the library – an increase of about $1,000 over previous sales.
“If we make more, then we can give more,” Duncan said.
The books, donated to the group, are sold for $1 for hardbacks and 50 cents for paperbacks – and those prices have remained the same for many years.
“We don’t plan to go up on our prices,” Duncan said.
The sale will include 10,000 to 12,000 books donated from various groups and individuals in the community. The books cover a wide range of topics and genres including fiction, mystery, suspense, health, religion, sports, cookbooks and reference materials. The sale also includes books on tape or CD and some movies on both VHS and DVD.
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.”
The group gathers the donated books throughout the year, storing them at the library until it is time to transport them to the sale site.
The Friends of the Library receives a large amount of assistance from the Carter County Work Crew who 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 completely prepare for the weekend sale with work starting Wednesday morning and continuing throughout the day on 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.”
The book sale is held in the gymnasium at the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation building on Mill Street. The sale begins on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. for members. Anyone can become a member of the Friends of the Library at the door of the sale. The dues to join are $10.
The sale will be open to the general public starting on Friday, Sept. 19, and Saturday, Sept. 20, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.