The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

September 10, 2013

By the Book: Annual book sale at Elijah Buell school

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — Once a year the community comes together to support the library and explore the world of books at the Friends of the Library Book Sale, which will be Wednesday through Saturday at the former Elijah Buell Elementary School in Clinton.

The Friends of the Library organize the four-day sale, with all the proceeds going back into the library to help fund programming, buy supplies the library needs or as match money for approved grants.

The book sale starts Wednesday at 4 p.m. when it opens to Friends of the Library members only. The public is invited to the sale on Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Money is so limited through the general fund, so it’s great that we can call on the (Friends) when we need that funding,” Library Director Amy Birtell said.

The used book sale is one of the biggest revenue generators the library has and it’s because of that funding that the library is able to continue offering fun activities for the community to take part in.

“What they do at the book sale then translates to what we can offer at the library,” Birtell said. “(They) are a vital part of what we do here.”

In return, the book sale would not exist without the help of the library and the vast amount of books it gives to the Friends to sell at the event. Book donations also play a major role in the sale being such a huge success.

Thousands of books and other items such as VHS tapes, puzzles, old records, video games and other electronic offerings will be available for the public to browse at the former school, which has been the location of the sale for three years.

“We have 11 school (class) rooms, some of them doubled, plus the gymnasium that are filled with books,” Friends of the Library President Judy Hammen said. “We used every room except for the office.”

To get an early crack at the wide variety of books, people are invited to become members of the Friends of the Library organization for an opportunity to browse the books Wednesday, a day earlier than the general public.

Even if people do not join the Friends, Hammen still encourages everyone to get to the sale early because it is a heavy traffic event, and people often travel from out of town to attend.

“I have a lady who comes from Dixon with a group of friends every year and they make a day out of it,” Hammen said. “There’s a lot of people that come back every year.”

She also believes having the sale in September, with winter right around the corner, is another reason for its success.

“People come in and get boxes of books and say “well, I’m ready for winter”,” Hammen said. “When winter comes, reading is a good hobby, especially for older people.”

Whatever the reason may be, Birtell is thankful the event takes place and happy that people continue to work for the betterment of the library.

“It’s very important that people come and support the Friends of the Library,” Birtell said. “They’re lifesavers.”