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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Friends of the Library book sale to begin Saturday

About 350,000 books fill the Friends of the Library building as members prepare for the semiannual book sale.

The shelves and tables are filled-eight copies of "The Yearling," Time magazines dating back to 1931, 450 leaves of sheet music and more.

And behind the counter sit about 1,500 boxes that haven't been unpacked yet.

The sale, which includes books, CDs, records, posters and art, will take place from Saturday to Wednesday at the Friends of the Library building, located at 430 N. Main St.

The book sale hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. However, on Sunday the sale begins at 1 p.m., and from Monday to Wednesday the sale begins at noon.

Most books are priced between 25 cents and ,3. On Tuesday, everything will be marked half-off, and on Wednesday, it's all marked down to 10 cents.

Billie Staff, a member of Friends of the Library, said she expects to raise a minimum of ,120,000 this year.

The money will go to the library, scholarships for library employees and cultural literacy programs.

People buy a lot of books, she said.

People buying at least five boxes can have their books held in outdoor tents. The express lane is for anyone with less than 20 items.

"I know this one woman comes every time and buys ,900 worth," Staff said.

Others, she said, spend up to ,1,500 or ,1,600.

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One of the most expensive items this year, she said, is a promotional banner for Paul McCartney's album "Tug of War."

It was donated by a music store and marked at ,150, Staff said.

Cheaper items, like books, are used but in good condition, she said.

"There are a lot of people in town who buy the best-sellers and as soon as they've looked at them, they send them to us."

Any books that aren't fit for sale they donate to the prison system.

Rare and specialty items are sent to the Collector's Corner. JoAnne Engwall, the book sale's specialist on Florida, works watching over an entire bookcase filled with tour guides and the works of both Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, a Florida resident who is best known for writing "The Yearling," and UF graduate Carl Hiaasen.

The corner also contains sections for the Civil War, poetry, science, art, children's books, signed copies and first editions.

Items in the Collector's Corner cost more than most of the other books, usually between ,4 and ,80. That is also where the "ephemera" go-baseball cards, collectible postcards, and 40-year-old copies of the Ladies Home Journal, The Saturday Evening Post, National Geographic and Time magazines.

"It wasn't meant to last," Engwall said explaining the term "ephemera."

"But someone has saved it for the past 30 or 40 years, and now it's valuable."

The ephemera are not put out the first day of the sale because it will be too crowded, she said.

Last year, people started camping outside the door Friday night.

"They bring their tents; they bring their chairs; they play games; they sleep," Engwall said.

People come to the sale from as far away as Washington and Maine, she said.

The sale, which started in 1954, continues to grow.

"We could use twice the space. I keep saying there's an empty Winn-Dixie out there," she said.

Staff said she works full time during the two weeks before and during the sale. But when it ends on Wednesday, the work won't be over for the 100 year-round volunteers.

In addition to a heavy-duty cleanup the day after, Staff said there are U-Haul trucks outside already being loaded for the spring sale.

"All day long, people just drop off books at the door," she said.

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