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Hidden treasures found at Friends of the Library book sale

By Carolina Astrain
Jan. 14, 2013 at 6 p.m.
Updated Jan. 14, 2013 at 7:15 p.m.

Laura Bagnell methodically works her way through stacks of books at the Victoria Public Library, as she totes her one-year-old son Sean.

IF YOU GO

• WHAT: Friends of the Library Book Sale

•  WHEN: 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday; 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Friday and 9 a.m.-noon, Saturday

• WHERE: The Victoria Public Library, 302 N. Main St.

• COST: Books and other sale items start at 10 cents and up, prices vary on condition and popularity.

Her fingers stretched out to a distant plastic tub of children's books.

"Look, a Barbie book," Brandy Vrana said to her two daughters, Avelyn, 3, and Marina, 5, as they sifted through another tub on the carpeted floor.

The toddler and young child perked up at their mother to see if she had indeed struck the gold mine.

For at least the past 35 years, the Friends of the Library has hosted a used book sale to raise money on behalf of the Victoria Public Library.

In recent years, since the book sale has expanded from just one sale per year to three, the fundraiser has brought in an average of $30,000 a year to supplement the library's budget, said Doris Dickson, event co-chairwoman for the Friends of the Library.

"I can remember being excited about making $3,000 one year," said Dickson, who has been a member of the nonprofit organization since 1980. "People really appreciate the opportunity to buy books at a reduced cost."

Some unusual finds from Monday's opening sale included a bilingual children's book titled "Perro Grande ... Perro Pequeno;" an overflow of romance novels in the poetry, plays and prose section and a cookbook by a deceased Chicago public television personality from the mid-80s through the late-90s titled "The Frugal Gourmet."

On Saturday, the Friends of the Library will have a special sale from 9 a.m. to noon., where shoppers can walk away with a tote bag stuffed with books for $1, repeatedly. The catch? You have to buy a new tote, each $5, from the Friends of the Library association.

Money raised through the three major book sales go toward funding for the library's summer reading program and other materials for the library, said Dayna Williams-Capone, Victoria Public Library director.

"We really appreciate the community's support," Williams-Capone said. "The majority of our donations are books, but we've also received old records, DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes - a little bit of everything."

The last time the library volunteers counted, they had received 20,000 donated items to the bazaar, the director said.

Pensively looking through the thriller and suspense aisle of hardcover books, DeTar Healthcare System volunteer Barbara Smith, 72, was on a hunt.

"This is my thing," Smith said, holding a black, padded notepad with small, handwritten words on faded, yellow paper. "When I'm here, I'm in my element."

The bookworm looked up and down her notebook, making sure she wouldn't be taking home a double.

Smith keeps a record of every book she owns, sorted by author.

The notepad is pages long.

Small check marks indicate a good read.

"I live out in the county, so this is a great way for me to get books cheaply without having to worry about overdue fees," Smith said. "This is just the best thing in the whole world."

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