Book sales support library

Published 8:55 pm Wednesday, August 4, 2010

If you’ve enjoyed an audio book or your child has participated in a summer reading program at any of the Suffolk Public Libraries, you may have the “Friends of the Suffolk Library” to thank.

Each month, the group of volunteers hosts a book sale at their 701 E. Pinner Street location to help raise money for the needs of the library — whether for audio books, a podium, the summer reading programs or any of a variety of other needs.

This month’s sale is Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. — but bring cash or check; no credit cards are accepted.

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“The sole object of our group is to raise money for the library system,” “Friends” treasurer Pat Gammon said. “The library has wonderful programs and is an amazing resource for children. People can go there for computers and Internet access, its reference collection, audio books and so much more. It tickles me to see mothers with a few children with them go away with a giant stack of books they’d never have been able to buy at a store.”

Books at the sale are priced at 25 cents for paperbacks, 50 cents for soft covers, $1 for hard covers, $1 per inch for children’s books, and other items are specially priced.

According to Gammon, the group earns between $2,000 and $3,000 on the sales.

“When you’re selling books for 25 cents apiece, that is a whole lot of books,” Gammon said.

In fact, it’s more books that Gammon could count, she said.

Each week, a group of around 10 volunteers sorts through 20 to 30 boxes of books destined for that month’s sale.

“We meet every week to stay on top of the amount of books we receive,” Gammon said. “We’re actually looking into recycling, because we just have so many books. Our shelves are filled to overflowing, our shed in the back is filled to the brim, and we just keep getting more books.”

When there aren’t enough buyers to clear the shelves, it’s time for some old books, like textbooks and magazines, to find a new life elsewhere.

“We have an arrangement with TFC recycling that will recycle the paper from the books,” Gammon said. “We just don’t have enough room.”

One potential problem looming in the future is that of the sale’s location. The group has been allowed to use the site for free, but the building was sold about a year ago.

“The new owner has been very generous and kind to let us stay here,” Gammon said. “We know the day will come when we have to find a new home, though.”

Aware that funds may be needed in the future, the group has opened an account to start saving for a rainy day.

“We try to keep a bit of a stash, but if the library needs it, we’ll give it to them,” Gammon said. “Ultimately, everything we do is support the library as best we can, in as many ways as we can, with as much money as we can.”