Treasures for sale at bargain prices

sgilman@newsobserver.comMarch 14, 2014 

  • Library book sale

    Sneak preview: 4-8 p.m. Friday, March 21; $25 per bag of books.

    Main sale: 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, March 22; $15 per bag of books.

    After sale: 4-7 p.m. Monday, March 24; $10 per bag of books.

Later this week at Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library, book lovers will be able to stuff a Lowes Foods bag with books and take it home for just the price of a few lattes.

The library will hold its spring book sale March 21, 22 and 24. Workers have already filled the library’s Sybil Champion Meeting Room with tables and piled those tables with books.

“We’ve got more books than we’ve ever had,” said Gary Jewell, president of the Friends of the Library, the nonprofit that organizes the book sales.

The sale offers a “sneak preview,” held in advance of the main sale “to offer the very best selection of our available books,” Jewell said. This year’s sneak peek will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday. The main event will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and the after sale – for the cheapest deal but smallest selection – will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday.

The Friends of the Library holds the sale twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring, to raise money that “goes right back into the library fund to assure that we have a great library for generations to come,” Jewell said.

As patrons donate books to the library throughout the year, librarians sort through them. They put some in circulation and others in plastic totes stacked against the meeting room walls, where they sit and wait until the sales.

“We keep what we think we need,” said senior library assistant Debbie Ragland. “The ones that we don’t need, we sell.”

Members of the Friends of the Library then sort the books into various categories, such as children’s books, adult fiction, adult nonfiction, religious and more.

The Friends of the Library is a nonprofit organized in 1976 to raise money for a new library building in Clayton, the current Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library, which opened in 1981. The first book sale took place March 16, 1991. Today, the group uses money raised at the book sales to purchase things not covered by the library’s budget.

The friends have used funds to host book signings, build the Virginia Lee Satterfield History Room, commission the Clayton History Mural, buy computer tables and the puppet stage, and underwrite the library’s popular summer reading program.

Getting kids interested in books at an early age through reading programs has long-lasting effects, Jewell said. “You get them excited about books early on in their lives, and they continue to stay excited about it througout their lives,” he said.

The fall book sale will take place Sept. 12, 13 and 15. For more information, call Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library at 919-553-5542.

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