‘Friends’ moving to Pruden Hardware

Published 11:43 pm Friday, December 17, 2010

Library friends: Pat Gammon of the Friends of the Suffolk Library arranges books in the warehouse in October.

Faced with a New Year’s Eve deadline to vacate its current warehouse, the Friends of the Suffolk Library group is relocating temporarily to the old Pruden Hardware building.

The historic business closed a couple of years ago, and the Friends feel they have found the perfect — albeit temporary — solution to their search for space. The group has been looking for a new location for more than a year, ever since they were given notice they would have to vacate their current building by Dec. 31.

The group accepts donations of used books and sells them at monthly events for $1 or less, depending on the type. All proceeds from the sales help support Suffolk Public Library programs, like the summer reading program.

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For years, the group has stored the books and conducted the sales in an old warehouse on East Pinner Street. However, the property was purchased from Norfolk Southern Railroad by adjacent business owner LeOtis Williams more than a year and a half ago, who allowed them to stay rent-free through 2010. The group had rented the building nearly free from the railroad.

The group began searching for a new place more than a year ago but only recently connected with Pruden Hardware, treasurer Pat Gammon said Friday.

“We’re just going to take it month by month,” Gammon said. “We’re going to continue looking for someplace that will be a little bit longer term.”

Owner Brooke Pruden is unable to commit to any specific length of time because he is trying to sell the building, Gammon added.

The group ordinarily skips its book sale in January but plans its next sale to go on as scheduled, Feb. 4-5.

“We’re going to set up all the tables at Pruden and put out as much as we possibly can for a February sale,” Gammon said.

The organization unloaded massive amounts of inventory during its December sale, Gammon said. A special deal of 10 cents per book helped move more than 13,000 volumes out the doors Dec. 3-4.

“We knew we had a lot of inventory to get rid of,” Gammon said. One customer alone — an antiques dealer who is opening a used book store in North Carolina — took about 9,000 books off their hands, Gammon said.

Still, roughly 40,000 books remained to be shifted to Pruden Hardware.

“We’re boxing up all the rest of the stuff,” she said. “We were having trouble keeping boxes.”

Pruden Hardware is located at 336 Carolina Road.

To offer boxes or helping hands to the Friends of the Suffolk Library, call 539-5335 or 539-2141, or email FriendsOfTheSuffolkLibrary@gmail.com.