Friends of the Library Spring Book Sale begins this weekend

Volunteer Lilla Moye organizes the Collector's Corner for last year's Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale at the FOL Book House at 430-B N. Main St. in Gainesville.

Erica Brough/Staff photographer/File
Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 3:51 p.m.

In October 1954, a group of friends got together to help improve the only library in Gainesville. It started an organization, Friends of the Library, and began providing funding in both cash and donations.


If you go

What: Friends of the Library Spring Book Sale, with more than 500,000 used books, magazines, graphic novels, CDs and more on sale to benefit the Alachua County Library District
When: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 1-6 p.m. Sunday, noon-7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, noon-6 p.m. April 24
Where: Friends of the Library Book House, 430-B N. Main St.
Admission: Free. Prices range from 25 cents to $4. Everything is half-priced on Tuesday and 10 cents on Wednesday.

Now in its 59th year, the Friends of the Library still provides funding with the help of its semiannual book sales. The Friends of the Library Spring Book Sale begins Saturday and continues through April 24, said Sarah Harrison, the organization's publicity chair.

More than 500,000 books and other items are sold to raise money to purchase library materials, fund adult and children library programs, and pay for scholarships for library employees.

After its first sale in 1954, the event raised a total of $80. Today, the spring book sale brings in between $140,000 and $160,000. Most books are priced from 25 cents to $4 each. On Tuesday, everything is half-price; and Wednesday, everything is 10 cents.

The first day of the book sale, which is held at the Friends of the Library Book House at 430-B N. Main St., is the busiest, said Harrison, usually bringing in about $80,000 to $90,000 alone. The sale attracts people from all over the Southeast, with some arriving 24 hours before doors open to wait in line.

She said she expects a long line of customers to snake down the street.

The first stop for the most dedicated buyers is the Collector's Corner, which will be open from Saturday to Tuesday. It's a separate section in the book house that gives buyers the chance to purchase valuable items at reasonable prices. It includes a section about Florida, titled "Floridiana," with Florida high school yearbooks, books by Florida authors, maps and more. Military and Civil War items also will be available for purchase, but these items will not be included at the military table in the main part of the sale, Harrison said.

Harrison recalled the time she and a co-worker found a letter from Charles Lindbergh to a book's owner. It sold in the Collector's Corner for $700.

The most popular tables are the ones holding donated records, sheet music, audio books, DVDs, children's books and textbooks. On the children's books table, buyers will find old picture books that are out of print or old textbooks for homeschooled children. Harrison said a family can fill a child's library with all of the books the sale has to offer.

A selection of medical, scientific and law textbooks attract graduate students. Though they're not necessarily new editions, they are still great study tools, Harrison added.

"Everything that's ever been published comes through at some point, if you're willing to wait long enough," she said.

No scanners or pricing tools, pets, wagons, food or drinks are allowed at the sale. Strollers and other wheeled devices (besides wheelchairs) are not allowed inside on Saturday. Starting Sunday, book carts and grocery carts will be provided.

Buyers are encouraged to bring their own boxes and bags. And although the building does not have air conditioning or heating, many fans will circulate air throughout the sale.

Only cash and checks will be accepted.

The sale will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday, noon to 7 p.m. April 22-23, and noon to 6 p.m. April 24.

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