It took many volunteers to set up the Friends of the Library book sale last month. Pictured here, from left, are Mary Lind, Jan Prichard, Zoey Humphry and Carolyn Wiley. Photo courtesy of Maureen Reilly

In preparation for the annual sale, members of Friends of the Key Center Library lifted, hauled and sorted their way through thousands of books, DVDs, CDs and VHS tapes. In addition to regular local book donations, the organization had received an unanticipated bounty from an unexpected source.

According to Rosina Vertz, the Key Center Library supervisor, a local online paperback bookseller discontinued his business of 20 years.

“He walked in here last fall and saw our sign needing paperbacks. He offered to donate 20,000 books. We stuck a lot in our garage. They are stored in homes all over the Key Peninsula. We came up with storage for 8,000 books.”

Carolyn Wiley, Friends of the Library vice president, was in charge of the sale.

“I was thrilled by the response for volunteer help,” Wiley said. “We had 16 people setting up. It took from 2 to 7 p.m. to set up. We had 8,000 titles from one donor. Weve only emptied two storage facilities of 55 boxes of books.”

Eager bargain hunters flowed in, often several times, during the two-day sale, Feb. 6 and 7. Volunteers replenished empty spaces with new titles as tables were crammed with more books stored in boxes stacked beneath tables.

“All I do is read,” shopper, Jack Etzel, said. “I don’t watch TV. Theyve got good books.”

“I found a book on cats in the childrens section,” Heather Rogers said. “It sounded intriguing. I have four cats. I came for two hours to volunteer. I opened a book of poems. Some Im giving to people who love gardening.”

“We love good books and we love our library,” Tweed Meyer said. “I got one for my mother and one for my grand-daughter.”

“There was a constant stream of people all day long. A tremendous amount of paper went,” Wiley said. “Whats important is community support for the library. We have one of the smaller libraries in the county, but it is extremely high-use. We (FOL) also support a preschool program and ‘Second Saturday for Families and Kids.’”

A youth program will be held once a month at the Red Barn. A new Lego science project has also been funded by FOL.

According to Maureen Reilly, Friends president, 22 volunteers contributed 120 man-hours, which culminated in the most successful sale of the Friends of the Library to date.

“The final total was $879.05, approximately $100 due to membership renewals. Thats a lot of sales,” Reilly said. “Some books left over went to the Nativity House, a halfway house in Tacoma. One of our members volunteers there and asked for books. Another member volunteers at the Pierce County Jail and asked to have books donated there. We are very grateful to our volunteers,” she said.

Three local members still have books from the large donation stored at their homes. The next sale in September promises to be another blockbuster, organizers said.

Proceeds from Friends of the Key Center Library book sales are used to fund free community programs like the winter concerts, flint knapping, edible and medicinal plants, weaving, Taiko drummers and trips to the opera.

Upcoming programs will cover genealogy and the golden age of wood boat building. The general meeting in May features poetry and music.

Books are always for sale just inside the library doors; paperbacks on the carousel and hardbacks on the shelves against the wall are 25 cents. Hardcovers cost $1.

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