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‘Friends’ lend Marysville Library a helping hand

Suzanne Carpenter, a volunteer with the Friends of the Marysville Library’s Book Sale area, sorts through donated volumes before stocking them on the shopping area’s shelves. - Kirk Boxleitner
Suzanne Carpenter, a volunteer with the Friends of the Marysville Library’s Book Sale area, sorts through donated volumes before stocking them on the shopping area’s shelves.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — For the past three years, Suzanne Carpenter has been stocking donated books and magazines on the shelves of a small shopping area near the entrance of the Marysville Library, and like Shirley McRae, who’s been shopping at the Friends of the Marysville Library’s Book Sale area since she first moved to town nearly a decade ago, Carpenter considers it an overlooked treasure.

“I’ll get this little boy who comes in asking if we have any books on dinosaurs, and even if I know we don’t, I’ll check the shelves anyway, to make him feel important,” Carpenter laughed. “One man comes by just about every Saturday looking for Westerns. People are on the hunt for books that are out of print in the genres that they like.”

“I like any kind of books,” said McRae, as she stacked a succession of paperbacks in the crook of her arm, one by one. “If I get a whole bunch today, though, I probably won’t be back for another two weeks. I love the variety they have in stock here.”

Marysville Library Managing Librarian Eric Spencer explained that the Friends of the Marysville Library’s Book Sale area has between four and five volunteers available to sort through a steady stream of between 20-40 cases of books each week, with each case containing about 30-50 books.

“The volunteers help determine what gets included in the Book Sale area,” Spencer said. “The rest gets sent to online used book retailers. What we send them tends to be either some of the books that we might get a better price from selling to them, or the books that we just haven’t been able to sell at all here, so it’s kind of both extremes. Even the books that those retailers ultimately decide to recycle still cover the fuel costs of picking up those materials.”

Spencer elaborated that the books they receive run the gamut from spur-of-the-moment drop-offs of dusty old paperbacks that spring-cleaners just so happen to discover while rummaging through their attics, to carefully planned donations from estates.

“Some people hand us off brand-new books that they bought for full price, because they know it will benefit us,” Speer said. “Others are the well-worn perennial favorites, like romance novels. We get everything from long-running serials to contemporary hardbacks, and even if we’d get a better price reselling them to retailers, we actually keep a lot of those right here for our own customers.”

Hardbacks sell for $1 each and paperbacks sell for 50 cents each in the Book Sale area, while children’s paperbacks are all a quarter apiece, the same as magazines. CDs and VHS tapes run for $1 apiece, while DVDs cost $2.

“There’s a real sense of discovery in a used book area, whether it’s people rediscovering old books that they remember enjoying before, or folks taking a chance on something that’s new to them. What’s especially great about those old favorites is that parents who grew up with them will show them to their own kids.”

Spencer and Carpenter agreed that both the Friends of the Marysville Library and its Book Sale area could benefit from more volunteers.

“I’ve lived in Marysville for nine years and I wish I’d known about the Friends of the Library sooner,” Carpenter said. “We could use some good organizers here. If you’re newly retired, or you just want to get out and meet new people, this is the place to be.”

The Friends of the Marysville Library help fund author visits, summer reading programs, teen and adult discussion groups, materials to supplement programs and enhance library displays, and The Marysville Globe on microfilm. For more information, call Spencer at 360-658-5000, ext. 5020.

 

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