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Caption: The Big Used Book Sale begins Tuesday and continues throughout February during library hours

Canton Library kicks off annual used book sale

By Laurie Humphrey
Staff Writer

Book aficionados and bargain hunters alike should mark Tuesday on their calendars.

Friends of Canton Public Library will start hosting its 11th annual Big Used Book Sale on that day during regular library hours. The sale continues through the end of the month.

"This is the usually the great big sale in May," said Marcia Barker, Friends and Volunteer Coordinator for Canton Public Library, "but with the new construction going on, the Meeting Room (where the sale is held) will not be available in May."

This event should not be confused with other sales held by Friends of the Canton Public Library. There are three smaller sales each year as well, but those sales focus only on specific items, such as compact discs.

Barker is excited about this year's Big Used Book Sale saying, "We probably have more books than ever before." She attributes the overflow of books to more people donating than ever before.

"Normally, the books are dropped off in the back, but with the construction, all donations had to be accepted right in the library. The donation boxes were put in the front of the library and more people saw them. Some people didn't even know we accepted donations before they saw the boxes."

As a result, the 225-member Friends group has hundreds of boxes of donated books.

"We have a wide variety to sell: mystery, non-fiction, biography, technical, romance, children's books - and we also have compact discs, audio tapes, books on tape and videos," said Barker.

"We run the gamut and sell just about everything that isn't nailed down," she quipped.

Most of the items will sell for 50 cents to $1, but there are some specialty items which will sell for as much as $10. "But that is rare," Barker admitted.

Money from the sale is used by Friends of the Canton Public Library to support special programs run in the library. Money is also allocated to support special enhancements which are not in the library budget, such as the two large giraffes in the youth section of the library.

While nobody has ever kept track of how many people attend the Big Used Book Sale, Barker did say the event usually nets $12,000 to $15,000. "That's a week's worth of sales," she said. "This is the first time we've done it for a month."

The two most popular sellers at the book sale are children's books and mysteries according to Barker. However, the sales also draw book dealers who will buy all types of books.

Planning for this event is a huge undertaking, and it takes a year-round commitment from volunteers. Books need to be sorted; transported from the drop-off point at the library to the storage facility, which is a toold shed behind the historical Travis-Bartlett House; transportation back to the library for the sale; and workers are also needed for the sale.

"We have a wonderful crew of about 20-25 people," Barker said.

Admission to the event is free and open to everyone. Regular hours of the Canton Public Library, at 1200 S. Canton Center Road, are: 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Questions regarding the Big Used Book Sale should be directed to (734) 397-0999.