Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Oconee County Book Sale Fundraiser for Watkinsville Library Starts Three-Day Run Thursday

Estimated 32,000 Books

Oconee County Library Friends has unpacked 1,134 boxes of books–a record number–in preparation for the book sale that will run Thursday through Saturday at the Oconee County Civic Center, 2661 Hog Mountain Road, west of Butler’s Crossing.

While no one knows the exact number of books in those boxes, book sale coordinator and Library Friends Treasurer Penny Mills said that a conservative estimate would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 32,000 books.

The books have been sorted into 46 categories, including three children’s categories, general fiction, mystery/thriller, and a number of nonfiction categories. The sale also includes DVDs, CDs, and audio books.

The sale runs from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday and is open only to Library Friends members, though anyone can become a member at the door.

The sale runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and is open to the public both days.

Most books are priced at $2 or less. Children’s books range from $.50 to $2. CD’s are $1, and DVDs are $3.

Donated Books

Library Friends collects books from anyone willing to donate them, and this year’s collection includes 70 boxes of books from Athens Academy.

These were books the school was withdrawing from its library and include a sizeable number of history books, according to Mills.

Board Members Penny Mills
 And Jim Bennewitz

The State Botanical Garden Friends donated more than 20 boxes of books left after a rummage sale it held.

The Bogart Library Friends donated a similar number of boxes from its book sale. Bogart and the Watkinsville Library have separate Friends support groups.

Carolyn Droze donated 30 boxes of books in the continuing liquidation of her book store at J&J Flea Market, Mills said.

OCAF donated 20 to 25 boxes from its rummage sale.

“It’s not unusual for us to receive 12 to 15 boxes of books from individuals in the community who are downsizing or cleaning out a parent’s home,” Mills said.


The categories with the most books, according to Mills, are mystery/thriller, general fiction, history and religion.

Library Friends filled 68 boxes with history books this year, Mills said, compared with 36 for the fall sale a year ago.

“We have a nice selection of children’s books, ranging from board books to elementary to young adult,” Mills said.

“The large history section this year should be a draw,” Mills added. “We also have a nice selection of what we call coffee table books—beautiful large books on a variety of topics.”

Friends Sort Books

Library Friends sort and box books throughout the year, using salvaged boxes of differing sizes.

The books are stored in a building behind the library in Watkinsville.

Mills said the 13 board members are involved throughout the year getting ready for sales.

The Oconee County Library Friends holds two sales, one in February and the much larger Fall sale.

“For the February sale, the sorting and packing is done as board members have time to come in,” Mill said. “For the Fall sale, starting mid-May, we sort and pack every Thursday and Sunday night until the sale in September.

Volunteers Help Too

“We also have a couple of teenagers who regularly help with Fall sale sorting,” Mills said.

An additional 15 to 20 volunteers “work days and hours here and there, as they can,” she said.

“We get teens from the two high schools, adults who are members of the Friends of the Library,” Mills said, “and our heroes are the (University of Georgia) Phi Kappa Theta fraternity guys who help us move the books from the library to the Civic Center.

“We couldn’t pull off the sale without our volunteers,” she said.

Proceeds Of Sales

In February of 2015, the Library Friends was able to donate $10,000 to the Watkinsville Library from the sale of 413 boxes of books.

Following the sale last fall, the Library Friends donated $23,000 to the library from the sale of 1,063 boxes of books.

In February of this year, Library Friends donated $12,000 from the sale of 657 boxes of books. In addition to raising money through the books sales, the groups raises money through its memberships.

With these monies, the Library Friends funded the summer reading program and related events at the Watkinsville library, paid for 1,000 Legos for the children’s area, paid for and organized Family Fun Day at the library.

State Funds

Evelyn Knauft, assistant Branch Manager at the Watkinsville Library, said the state will provide roughly $8,500 in money for materials acquisition in the current fiscal year.

That follows several years of zero funding.

“Because of the generosity of the Library Friends, we have been able to buy things and do other programs that other libraries have been unable to do,” Knauft said.

“I praise them to the sky,” she added.

Unsold Books

Books not sold at the sale this week won't be thrown away.

Instead they will be turned over to Direct Book, 130 Hanover Circle, in Athens-Clarke County.

Shirley Cano, one the owners, said Direct Book sells both on eBay and Amazon.

The company will take all of the books not sold at the book sale and offers them for sale online. Part of the proceeds of sales comes back to Oconee County Library Friends.

“Liquidating books left after a sale sometimes is a challenge,” Mills said. “We’re fortunate to have our online bookseller take the books at the end of the sale.”


Anonymous said...

It is easy to be very frustrated by the Melvin Davis led county administration and the remaining go along to get along county commissioners, but we are very blessed to have an excellent county library staff. And the Oconee County Library Friends are just fantastic! It's heart warming to see a very well run government service with a group of active, concerned citizens who support the mission of the library.

Now if we could only get competent, non-political and responsible appointees to the Animal Control Advisory Board...

Laura Bennewitz said...

Lee, thank you so much for the great article on the library book sale and for all you do to keep us informed. I just wanted to clarify two points: 1) You do not have to be a Friends member to attend the sale on Friday or Saturday and 2) The books are half price on Saturday.
Thanks again
Jim Bennewitz

Lee Becker said...


Thanks for the comment. I clarified the 1st point in the post. The nice thing about posts is that they can be changed so easily.

I'll leave it to your comment to make the second point.

Thanks again, and thanks for allowing me to take the picture of you smiling while hard at work.