A helping hand

Published 11:23 pm Thursday, January 22, 2009

By Staff
Buy a book, help a library — and yourself.
The Friends of the Brown Library’s book sale this weekend will benefit Washington’s city-owned library by raising money for the “extras” that the city’s allocation to the library will not pay for. That’s a given.
Providing books, VHS tapes and CDs at low prices is a bargain for the public. What people learn from those books, VHS tapes and CDs could benefit them in many ways, from reading history or science books to viewing videotapes regarding the space race that began after World War II.
For about 17 years, the Friends of the Brown Library have used the annual book sale to supplement the library’s funds, which helps the library supplement its offerings to its users. With money from the organization, the library has obtained items like computers, book racks and a bench for the garden in front of the library. Roof repairs were made possible with money from book sales. Money from the book sales also helps pay for the library’s summer reading program for children.
That program in itself is worth all the hard work that Friends of the Brown Library volunteers put in each January as they prepare for the three-day event.
The book sale began as a way for the library to sell some of its old books to make way for new books. The Friends of the Brown Library also asked area residents to donate books for the sales. These days, the donated books outnumber the library’s discarded books.
The book sale also provides the money needed for the organization to present its Conversations with North Carolina Authors series, which has proven popular with area residents. The series has exposed those residents to authors such as Clyde Edgerton, author of “Raney” and “Walking Across Egypt.”
Two years ago, when the library’s computer system was in danger of “crashing,” the organization stepped in to prevent that from happening.
After learning that the library was experiencing extremely severe problems with its computer system, Friends of the Brown Library decided to allocate about $10,000 to buy a new server and four compatible computers for the library. If the system had crashed, that likely would have resulted in the library losing its catalog and data files.
At that time, the library’s budget did not include the money needed to correct the problem.
Instead of complaining about the city not being able to come up with the money to solve the problem, Friends of the Brown Library chose to act.
Washington could use more such groups that choose to act rather than complain.