Bargains for the book bunch

Published 12:32 am Friday, January 20, 2012

Spread across the Washington Civic Center floor, it’s a sea of books, table after table of hardcover books—art, history, biography galore. Tucked in odd places, on the stage and under tables are boxes of quality paperbacks—suspense, romance, mystery, chick-lit. Some are shiny new, some are gently used, but all the books at this sale have price tags just a fraction of their original cost.

Quality paperback books sell for $1 at the Friends of the Library annual book sale. Over 25,000 books were donated to help raise funds for the Brown Library. The event runs today and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. (WDN Photo/Vail Stewart Rumley)

A favorite of local bibliophiles, the Friends of the Brown Library annual book sale takes place today through Sunday at the Washington Civic Center. From 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, book lovers can browse through over 25,000 book titles donated specifically for the sale to raise funds to support the library.

“This is an event we look forward to every year,” said Washington resident Carol Smith.

Smith and her sister, Jean Williams, who lives in Swan Quarter, make a yearly date to attend the book sale together.

“We can hardly wait for it,” said Williams.

Thursday, Smith and Williams attended the Friends of the Brown Library Member’s Night, an opening event in which members of the organization get a sneak preview, and first dibs, on this year’s crop of books.

At 5:30 p.m., a line stretched out the door of the Civic Center as members waited to get in and start searching through the tables. A few patrons searched for specific titles from lists, others simply browsed. Some loaded books into sturdy bags brought from home, others made do with the plastic ones supplied by the Friends of the Brown Library.

“The quality of the donations has increased,” said Rachel Victoria Mills, one of the event’s organizers. “We have beautiful children’s books—we have whole sets. And the selection of quality paperbacks is wonderful.”

New quality paperbacks will cost anywhere between $10 and $20, but at this three day sale, the list price is $1.

Children’s books are $.25, and quality children’s books are $2.

In addition to books, the sale feature LPs, cassette tapes, videos, CDs, DVDs, and audio books.

To get it all there is a two-day affair of volunteerism.

“We had over 1300 boxes, averaging 20 books a box,” said Katie Lake, a Friend of the Brown Library and one of the organizers of the sale.

Volunteer Walt Warren orchestrated moving the books from the Coastal Mini-storage unit to the Civic Center, a task that took 10 trucks. Ginny Warren organized the sorting of the thousands of books into genres, then alphabetically.

“We could never, ever do this without the volunteers who come back year after year,” said Mills.

Friends of the Brown Library uses this annual sale to provide funds in addition to those allotted in the city-owned library’s annual budget. The proceeds are used throughout the year for new technology, special programming, and basic supplies the library might otherwise have to do without.

In addition to the Friday and Saturday event hours, Sunday is “Fill-Our-Bags for $5” day, where patrons can fill a provided bag with any of remaining books.