Rowan Public Library book sale brings in about $5,000

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 19, 2014

SALISBURY — Rowan Public Library’s annual book sale May 2, 3 and 5, brought in right around $5,000, according to Edward Hirst, technical services supervisor, who was in charge of the sale for the first time this year.
“It went well,” he said. The library made a little less than last year, but they also had fewer books for sale, Hirst said. The library sold all the paperbacks available. But there was not much left over, so, overall, the library sold a higher percentage of what it put out on tables in the Stanback Auditorium.
Shoppers noticed a slew of old Zane Gray books in fiction boxes around the room. Some are being replaced, and some are permanently out of circulation. Hirst said some books are moved around to other locations.
Proceeds from the sale go into Rowan County’s general fund, said Library Services Manager Marian Lytle. “They give us money for operation and we give them some back,” Lytle said, “so we can continue to get funding. Fees and fines also go into the general fund.”
Hirst said the sale started with 300 boxes of books. Only three boxes were left. “The fiction goes a lot faster than non-fiction,” he said. Friday and Saturday were “really busy,” he said. Hirst bought just one book, restraining himself.
A company from Kernesville takes the leftover books, scans the international book numbers and determines what can be sold through different venues. Some books, different books, come back. What the company can’t use they donate to other organizations. A percentage of any sales made there comes back to the library.
Lytle said this sale is different from the November Friends of the Library sale, The money from the Friends sale stays with the Friends, which, in turn, gives the library needed funds for its programs.
Lytle said the 2014 sale was one of the smallest they’ve had recently, partly because they are holding on to more material and there’s not as much to sell.
“We have a very generous Friends organization and foundation and we get a lot of gift books. We keep a good size collection and that allows us to weed,” Lytle said. The library got rid of things like VHS tapes, which are not used much.
The book budget is smaller and the library has “maxed out allocated money for fiction for the year,” she said.
Every time a book is donated, it is evaluated. If it’s a copy of a series, for example, and is better looking than what the library has, the new book will go on the shelf. Some books are so popular, they stay on the shelves even if the books look bad, Lytle said. Books that are dated or highly specialized go to the Friends group, which may opt to sell the book. If the library has 10 copies of a book because a book club read it, some of those copies go to the Friends book sale. If someone brings in books they no longer want, those go to the Friend’s sale. If the book is added to the library’s collection, it can go into the library sale.
Lytle said the library is investing more in ebooks through the N.C. Digital Library.
“We’re part of a consortium,” she said. “We buy X number of copies, and once it’s checked out, people put holds on them. The library’s copies are checked out all the time, so we see more and more people wanting digital formats; delightfully, it’s a lot of senior citizens” who enjoy the larger print available and the portability of an e-reader.