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Friends of Brown Library Book Sale offers reads for all tastes

Bibliophiles rejoice! Next week marks the beginning of the biggest book sale of the year for Beaufort County, and whether volunteering or shopping, there are plenty of opportunities to support your local library.

With the annual Friends of the Brown Library Book sale kicking off for members on Thursday, the work begins in earnest on Tuesday morning, when volunteers will begin moving approximately 1,100 boxes of books from storage to the Washington Civic Center.

The sale itself will kick off Thursday evening from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. with a special members-only night for FOBL supporters before opening to the public. Anyone can get a membership at the door for $15, and FOBL President Katie Lake says the pre-sale tends to attract a wide variety of booksellers from throughout the state.

The general public can get in on the action from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. Sunday shoppers can score a special deal by purchasing a bag of books for $5. New to the sale this year, there will be a special room for old books at a special value.

As to the benefits the library receives from the sale, the impact is huge. The profits from the fundraiser are used each year to help the library purchase items and expand services that might not be included in the budget provided by the city. In doing so, the organization not only helps the library do new things, but also saves city taxpayers money.

“I think the city appreciates this,” FOBL President Katie Lake said with a laugh.

Started by Nancy and David Nash decades ago, the sale has grown steadily since its inception, moving from one venue to the next. Lake credits the Nashes with being the ones to help re-energize the Friends group.

“The first one was in the library, and it was just discarded books from the library,” Lake explained. “Then they had other book sales at the old Washington Mall when the 15th Street mall was an inside mall. They would rent a storefront and have their book sale there. At least since 2000, we’ve been using the civic center.”

In recent years, proceeds from the sale have allowed the library to expand its summer programs for children and families, renovate the facility’s history room and purchase computer licenses for online services such as Ancestry.com and Overdrive, an online e-book service.

“Probably one of the most consistent, and loveliest, things they do for the library is support our summer programing every summer for children,” Brown Library Technical Services Director Kimberly Davenport said. “This summer, for the first time, they’re actually providing funding to do birth-through-adult summer programing.”

At the heart of making the book sale happen is community effort. Volunteers are needed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday for setup, during sale hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday afternoon to pack up the remaining books.