PEEK A BOOK: Blount Rumley takes a sneak peek Wednesday at thousands of books at the Washington Civic Center, as volunteers continue set-up for the Friends of Brown Library annual book sale. The sale is the organization’s main fundraiser every year. Vail Stewart Rumley | Daily News

Archived Story

Book sale opens Thursday night

Published 9:17pm Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rick Wingard called it the best case of community volunteerism in his 50-year history of volunteering. That’s what it takes to move 1,158 boxes of 18 to 20 books — six trucks and a lot of helping hands.
Tonight, Friends of Brown Library members get a sneak preview (and purchase) of fiction, non-fiction, kids’ books, paperbacks, poetry and more accumulated throughout the year for FOBL’s biggest fundraiser of the year — the book sale. Wingard, this year’s book sale organizer, was on hand Tuesday and Wednesday as the books poured into the Washington Civic Center and volunteers sorted, stacked, alphabetized and straightened thousands of volumes.
Friends of Brown Library President Katie Lake explained the particulars of the annual book sale: children’s books start at .25 cents, paperbacks are fifty; trade paperbacks go for $1, hardbacks for two; art and coffee table books thrown in the mix are specially priced.
“There are three tables-worth of cookbooks this year,” Lake laughed.
For FOBL members, the sneak preview begins at 5:30 p.m. and runs until 8 p.m. tonight, but the good news, according to Lake, is that membership can be bought for $15 at the door. The event will be open to the general public from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.
According to Wingard, the book sale is one of the biggest in the region. The 2010 numbers support the claim: the four-day event made $20,000 with the sale of more that 21,000 books.
“We hold our own in book sales,” Wingard said.
Book sale earnings augment City of Washington funds for the purchase of library supplies, while Friends of Brown Library membership dues support library programs, Lake explained.
While debate has raged over the past few years regarding whether digital books will eventually make physical, paper books obsolete, Wingard said evidence, and book sale turnout, points in the other direction — the more publishing taking place online, the more people without electronic devices are turning to their libraries. Wingard also pointed out that money from the FOBL sale of real books actually supports the fees the library pays for its loaned eBooks.
“There’s still a reason for libraries. There’s still a reason for hardback books,” Wingard said.
The Friends of Brown Library Book Sale is held at the Washington Civic Center, 100 Gladden Street, Washington. Because of ongoing construction on the historic building, visitors must use the Gladden Street entrances. All entrances on the west side of the building are for safety purposes only. For more information about the book sale, visit

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