A bargain for books

Published 8:26 pm Monday, December 20, 2010

A building on Carolina Road that had been vacant since Pruden Hardware closed its doors at the end of 2008 once again has new life as the temporary home of the Friends of the Suffolk Library.

The Friends, whose monthly book sales raise money that helps the library meet a variety of needs each year that fall outside of its budget, have had a couple of sweetheart deals during the past few years when it came to paying for the space to warehouse their many books and set up their monthly sales.

For many years, the Norfolk Southern Railroad leased the nonprofit organization space in an old building on East Pinner Street at a nominal monthly rate. When the railroad sold the building in 2009 to nearby business owner LeOtis Williams, the rent got even cheaper — free, in fact — but it came with the understanding that Williams needed to be able to use the building eventually and that the Friends would have to vacate the premises by Dec. 31, 2010.

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Since that time, members have been searching for a new place to store nearly 50,000 books, and time had been running out until the deal was struck for use of the Pruden Hardware building. Though it’s still not a permanent solution to the organization’s need for a home, the Carolina Road location will at least give the Friends a place to hold their popular monthly book sales.

The resolution is clearly a satisfying one for the Friends of the Library, which will now be able to continue its fundraising efforts without interruption while it continues its search for a permanent home. And it’s a good one for Suffolk, as well — the city gets the continuing, faithful support of the Friends, and it gets to see a vacant building put back into partial use.

And for anyone who likes a good book, the solution is especially good news. Some of the best bargains available can be found at the Friends’ monthly book sales, and those sales start back up again in February in this new location.