Too many books to choose from
Feb 10, 2013 (Menafn - The Hawk Eye - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Peggy Ell didn't know how many books were for sale at the Burlington Public Library Saturday. But her husband and former Burlington mayor, Bill Ell, remembered hauling up 164 apple boxes full of books.
Take that number times 30 (the estimated holding capacity of each apple box), and it's safe to say about 5,000 books were for sale.
"February is probably our best sale," Bill Ell said.
The books consisted of donations and discarded tomes that once sat on the library's shelves, selling for 1 or less. Peggy Ell, who is vice president of the Friends of the Library group, said the quarterly sale has raised as much as 3,000 before. All the money goes back into the library.
"We are packed today," Peggy Ell said as she looked around at the patrons perusing the books.
Quinlan Kirk, 10, of Burlington was filling her plastic bag with a few Shakespeare stories; the Robert Louis Stevenson classic "Treasure Island"; and a few nonfiction books that covered everything from star constellations to ancient Rome. Kirk spent the summer reading through all seven Harry Potter books, which she now counts as her favorites.
"She has a real high reading level," her grandmother, Kathy Geren, said, beaming with pride.
Quinlan's 7-year-old brother, Lachlan Kirk, picked up a nonfiction book about cats, as well as two VHS movies -- "The Flintstones" and "George of the Jungle."
"He got some kitties for Christmas, so he's reading up on cats," Geren said.
Unlike most of the shoppers, Gator Prokup of Danville had a specific goal. He was looking for science books, and the thick volumes comprising the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Technology in the corner of the meeting room was one mother lode of a find. Considering each volume was only 1 apiece, he planned on buying them all .
"I'm going into veterinarian science," he said. "It's something I've always been interested in, and I decided after I got out of the military to go after my education."
Prokup traveled the Far East while serving in the Navy for four years, staying everywhere from the Philippines and Thailand to Australia and Japan.
"I spent a lot of time overseas," he said.
Michelle Daniels, 16, of Burlington has a weakness for science fiction and fantasy books, which she inherited from her father, Francis Daniels. They go to the library every Saturday to figure out what fantastic worlds they want to delve into next, usually grabbing the latest sci-fi novels from the teen section.
"A lot of the teen section is good," Francis said.
Michelle said she is very concerned about the possible budget cuts facing the library and wondered if the library would continue to carry some of her favorite book series. She didn't end up grabbing that many books Saturday, simply because she's so used to renting them from the library.
"If the library closes, I'll go brain dead," she said.
Florence Paterno, president of the Friends of the Library group, said it did her heart good to see so many youth shopping for books.
"Our children's books are going like wildfire. We've had teachers come in looking for books. We've had kids come in and pick their own books out, which is fun, because they all get excited about a particular subject," she said. "Their eyes light up, and they smile, and they say 'Look what I found!' "
Paterno foresees a day when all books will go digital, and events like used book sales will be a novelty from the past. She readily admits she has yet to convert to a Kindle or some other kind of reading tablet, but that day may come as well.
Not today, though.
"There's nothing like a real book in your hand, where you can flip the pages, and look at the cover, and smell the printing. There's just nothing like it," she said.
The sale continues from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday. Nonprofit groups are invited to shop from noon to 2 p.m.
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