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Friends of Rowan Public Library opening Second Saturday Bookshop

By Deirdre Parker Smith

deirdre.smith@salisburypost.com

The Friends of Rowan Public Library are going into business — sort of.

Starting Saturday, March 14, the Friends will have a used book store in West End Plaza, just inside the entrance next to the Rowan County Board of Elections.

Last Saturday, Friend members were volunteering their time, effort and strong backs to start setting up the store, which will sell paperbacks for $1 and most hardbacks for $1-$3.

It’s called the Second Saturday Bookshop, because it will be open the second Saturday of each month to sell books.

Friends volunteers will be at the store from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This past Saturday Jennifer Hubbard, president of the Friends, was dressed for hard work, with a pair of thick gloves as she assembled shelves in the store.

Barbara Corriher was busy cleaning every surface she could get to, while Sammie Hinshaw, past president; Shearin Teague and Susan Waller were emptying boxes of books, deciding how to arrange them and setting them up on the existing shelving.

Library employee and Friends member Cyndii Owen was working at the desk that serves at a sales counter and vacuuming the floors. “We could not have done this without her,” Hubbard said. “And she’s our bookkeeper, too.”

Hubbard said the once-a-year Friends book sale, usually held at the headquarters of Rowan Public Library, is not enough to deal with all the book that are donated to them.

It’s a big sale, she said, “but people complain that the books are not organized in any way. They’re all in boxes” and patrons have to pick through to see what’s there.

At the store, the books are going in by topic and alphabetically by author, so all the John Grisham books are together, and all the Sue Graftons and cookbooks are all in one place. “The cookbooks are very popular,” Hubbard said.

“We’re going to have a children’s area with books, games and puzzles, so children can read while the adults shop, and find books for sale.” Already, a display of children’s books had brightened the side of the store.

The walls are mostly wooden grids, but that kind of shelving is expensive, so displays will go there for now.

Hubbard was putting together a shelf that came from the former Cleveland Elementary School. Part of that school will soon be the West Branch of Rowan Public Library.

Children’s desks in that part of the store came from Woodleaf Elementary. “We’re recycling some history,” Hubbard said.

The Friends board is trying to decide where to have their big sale this year, either at the headquarters in Salisbury or at West End Plaza, where there’s plenty of parking and the books are set up in categories.

Because the Friends is a non-profit group, every dollar they make goes back to the library.

“Because the county allocates a certain amount of money to the library, there’s not enough to do all the programs,” Hubbard said.

The Friends sponsor the annual Summer Reading program and the Friends concerts held at the library.

Melissa Oleen, the library’s director, and Jeff Hall, the retired director, approached the county with the suggestion, and the county obliged with the space in the former mall, which is now owned by the county.

The Friends will pay utilities for the store.

In addition to books, they will have DVDs for sale, and some coffee-table books that might be a little more than $3. “Specialty books we can charge a little more for,”Hubbard said.

The store will also have the Friends’ popular Literary Gift Baskets (now on display at headquarters) and book bags.

A bittersweet note is the upcoming donation of all of the late Nancy Brandt’s cookbooks. She was a friend and supporter of the library who recently passed away.

There is always a cart of free books — things that are quite old or obscure or not in high demand, like Reader’s Digest condensed books.

Many of he books are by familiar, current authors, and some books look brand new, and may be.

The store will accept cash, credit cards and checks.

“I think there’s a need for a used book store in town,” Hubbard said. People are looking for that.”

You can also fill out an envelope at the store to become a Friends member, which is $10 a year for an individual, $15 for a family, $25 for a literary or civic organization, and $100 for patrons and businesses. The money goes into the Friends’ projects and allows the members first crack at the annual book sale.

Sammie Hinshaw, past Friends president, and Owen had the idea about a year ago at a Friends board meeting, then Hall and Oleen proposed it to the county.

If you would like to donate books to the Friends of Rowan Public Library, Hubbard said they should be dropped off at any library branch. Mary Ann McCubbin volunteers to sort through and sort the books for the Friends and the library sale. Money from the library’s annual book sale goes to Rowan County.

The Second Saturday Bookshop opens March 14, 10-4 p.m., and every second Saturday of the year at West End Plaza, 1935 Jake Alexander Blvd. W. All proceeds benefit Rowan Public Library.

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