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Books, books ... and more books

PRINCETON – For 29 years, the Friends of the Princeton Public Library has sorted, cleaned, moved, carried and displayed the thousands of books sold every year at the annual used book sale.

The popular sale, which is attended by book-lovers from all over the area and state, offers more than 9,000 quality, used books – both hardcovers and paperbacks.

“What we hope we have here is something that is very inviting for the public to come in and look,” said Jackie Davis, a member of The Friends of the Princeton Public Library. “We’ve spent a lot of time … making sure we have it organized and nice for the public.”

In the last five years, the sale has brought in on average $11,000 each year – which is a great sum of money considering the sale is made up of mostly 50 cent or $1 priced books.

The money has been spent on new resources for the library, including new book cards, computers, technology for the meeting room, a microfilm digitizer and more.

Throughout the years, the book sale has “exponentially grown,” according to Jill Van Acker, a member of The Friends. It’s moved from empty downtown businesses in Princeton, to the Bureau County Fairgrounds and now to its new site in the designated Library Book Sale Room, located in the rear of the library.

The decision to move the book sale was weighed heavily upon the amount of work it takes to transport the books and supplies for the sale to and from the fairgrounds.

“It was becoming unsustainable with manpower,” Davis said.

The thought was since the 360 banana boxes full of donated books was already at the library, why not just used the space given to The Friends as a sale room.

So far, the The Friends are enjoying the new space. The set-up of the room took about six months to organized and put shelving together to display the books. It’s all come together in time for the annual April sale.

“I feel proud for the community. I like living in a community that values education and values books enough to support this and support the library” said Davis. “It’s a really good feeling to live in a community that really values this sort of thing.”

Like every year, The Friends have been selective in what they’ve put on the shelves to sell.

“If it’s a book we wouldn’t read ourselves, it won’t find it’s way onto our shelves,” said Davis. “I think that’s why our sales are so successful.”

It takes about 10 volunteers to sort through the good and the bad, but in the end it makes every moment spent worth it.

“Every book is clean, and it’s sorted where it should go, and it’s fairly priced,” Davis said. “For 50 cents or a dollar, you can’t beat it.”

Although the sale is in a new location, no change has been made to the merchandise. Paperbacks, puzzles, CDs, audio cassettes and DVDs will be sold in the front of the library; hardcovers and children’s books will be sold in the sale room.

Van Acker said the salesroom is saturated with mystery, newer books, fiction, history, cook books and biography.

“We have a lot of literature and religion, too,” she said. “We have something for everybody.”

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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