Treasures and pleasures abound at Friends of the Library book sale
SALISBURY — Friday night, Mac Butner waited his turn, and paid his $10 to join the Friends of the Rowan Public Library.
Then he walked into a room filled with boxes, each box filled to the brim with paperbacks and hardcovers.
“Some people drink alcohol, some people do drugs. Our addiction is books,” Butner said.
The annual Friends of the Library book sale opened Friday, and continues today, Sunday and Monday at the Rowan Public Library’s headquarters branch.
This is the second year that the Friends of the Library have held a preview sale for members on Friday evening.
A line of buyers waited outside the door minutes before the 6 p.m. start of the sale – a mix of book lovers and book dealers.
For the latter, it’s worth $10 to get the first look.
“I’m from Winston-Salem,” Dave Clodfelter said. “There’s a literate population in Salisbury.”
Clodfelter was one of several who came prepared with big bags for hauling books home.
Asked whether he was a collector or a dealer, Clodfelter said, “Collectors usually evolve into dealers.”
He said he comes to the sale because Salisbury “has an eclectic reading taste.”
By contrast, Brien Lewis, of Salisbury, said he was there because he enjoys book sales.
“This is only my second time,” Lewis said. When he lived in Fort Mill, S.C., he said, he used to go to the local library’s book sales often.
“Just looking for everything from Christmas presents to reading for myself,” Lewis said.
Friends of the Library board member Pat Beck said the annual fundraiser continues to be a reliable source of income for the group.
Funds raised by the yearly sale support summer reading programs, author visits, an annual storytelling festival and more.
As budget cuts continue to impact services at the library, Beck said the funds raised are vital to meeting the public’s needs.
The books are donated throughout the year by members of the public, often coming from estate sales and collections, Beck said.
“You never know what you’ll end up with,” Beck said, gesturing to a table filled with U.S. history and biography volumes.
Genealogy books and books with local interest are always hot sellers, she said.
This year, Beck said, there are a lot of books on local history. One room contains special interest books, CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes.
“There are a lot of genealogy books and local history,” Beck said.
Once the doors opened, it was down to business.
David LaFrage headed straight into the local history collection.
“Anything North Carolina,” he said, as he stacked more books into a box. “We’ve lived here about 35 years.”
He remembers the year his father came to the sale and found “a complete run of National Geographics ... in bound volumes,” LaFrage said.
In the next room, Anastasia Tsambounieris shopped with daughters Sophia and Anna.
“My hands are about to break off from all the books,” Anastasia said.
“I’m sorry, I can’t hold anymore!” said Sophia, 8.
They were filling plastic grocery bags with kids’ books, a mix of old favorites and new.
Elsewhere, the professionals were hard at work: dealers who reportedly saw the sale advertised online.
One such dealer, who said he was from Raleigh but didn’t wish to give his name, moved quickly from box to box.
He used a smartphone app to scan the barcodes of the books, looking for information on how much they were worth.
“We have no problem about the dealers joining,” said Friends of the Library board member Dale Hartgrove.
“In a way, it does give them a bit of a leg up, but they pay the same as everybody else,” Hartgrove said.
Beck said there’s at least one local bookseller who comes in every year, buying books that she resells at a local antique shop.
For her part, Beck said the Friends of the Library had talked about doing an online sale, “but the regulations are so bad,” she said.
And then, she said, there’s the time that would be required to monitor the website, pack the books and ship them – “too many ifs, ands and buts,” Beck said.
As for Butner, he said he found treasures at the sale.
“I found two new, unopened, in-the-box ‘Physicians Desk References,’” Butner said.
And there are plenty of books to go around, with literally thousands of volumes on sale.
The sale continues from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. and Monday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Contact Hugh Fisher at 704-797-4244.