Friends book sale

Ruth Davis (left) and Bonnie Woolverton (right) arrange books inside the Palestine Library Friends sale room inside the Palestine Mall.

Palestine Library's Friends have enjoyed use of their book sale room in the Palestine Mall for the last decade. With the building's sale pending, however, the Friends have been asked to clear thousands of books from the space. Without storage and means for moving the books, everything must go.

The sale on Feb. 7-8 will allow the Friends to clear their inventory and make room for new tenants while raising more funding for library programs.

Though the sale of the mall is under contract, the new owner has agreed to continue leasing the library to the city for a reasonable rate, Mayor Steve Presley told the Herald-Press. The library's future location is still uncertain, but has been for years. “[The mall] was a temporary location until we could find a better one,” Presley said.

Started as a nonprofit to support the library in the 1970s, the Friends now consist of six board members and one volunteer. Book sales have been the group's main fundraiser for two decades, and having the book room in the mall allowed the Friends store and display books during sales two or three times a year. The sales earn about $1,500 each, which is then donated to library programs – summer reading programs for children and adults, speakers' fees, and the Dogwood Children's Literacy Festival. Funding for the library's staff, collections, and overhead costs come from the city's general budget.

The city purchased the mall for about $3 million in 2010 to house the library and other city offices. The city's Parks Department moved out a year ago, and the city's Police Training Room will move soon, too.

The Friends' book sales were a low-cost, lean operation. The nonprofit did not pay rent or utilities for the room, as they would have under a different owner. “We are thankful to the City for allowing us to use the space,” said Ruth Davis, a Friends member for 14 years.

Bonnie Woolverton, president of the Palestine Library Friends board, told the Herald Press that without a room of their own, the Friends can no longer host the book sales. Selling the donated books would mean moving them every time. “We're not boxing them any more,” Woolverton said.

Presley said he hopes the Friends will continue to hold book sales, perhaps with help from school youth organizations. “I appreciate all the effort they've put into supporting the library,” Presley said.

From its long-time location in the Carnegie Library Building on Queen St. near City Hall, the library moved to the old Alamo school building on Cedar St. in 1986, which allowed more space for activities and collections. However, when roof leaks caused extensive damage in 2009, the library was relocated to the mall and reopened in 2011.

The Friends book sale has something for everyone. Shoppers can buy children's books, adult fiction, romance novels, westerns, non-fiction, and even reference books for as little as 5, 10, 25, or 50 cents. Many are in gently used condition and would seem to be good additions to the library – except that the library already has enough copies and has little storage.

Coffee table books – oversized books with color photographs – will sell for $3 each. The Friends will sell canvas totes with the library's logo for a set price of $10 or $15, which customers can use to carry out their purchases. Cash, credit cards, and local checks will be accepted.

For information about the sale, visit www.booksalefinder.com Or call the library at 903-729-4121.

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