Oconee County Library Friends will direct funds raised through its winter used book sale from Feb. 8 to 10 to support of the summer reading program at the Oconee County Library on Experiment Station Road in Watkinsville.
Rebecca Ballard, children’s specialist at the library, said children experience a “summer slump” in reading when school is not in session, and the summer reading program is designed to address that.
The winter book sale starts with a preview and sale of available books from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday (Feb. 8) at the library in Watkinsville. That part of the sale is open only to Oconee County Library Friends, though anyone can join at the door.
The sale continues from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Books are organized by category, and a new section on Military History will be used for this sale, according to Penny Mills, book sale coordinator and Library Friends treasurer.
“We will again have a large selection of quality children's books,” Mills said.
The books that are being offered for sale are ones donated by people in the community.
Books are organized on tables into the various categories, and shoppers get a chance to browse along the rows of books.
Most books will be sold for $2 or less. Children’s books range from $0.50 to $2.
CDs are $1, and DVDs are between $2 and $3.
All books are marked down to 50 percent off on Saturday.
Credit cards are accepted.
Last year the Friends donations to the library for materials acquisition and programming totaled $37,000, according to Mills.
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Much of the money from the Fall book sale goes to purchasing books for the children’s library.
The money earned from the sale later this week will be directed at the Summer Reading Program.
That money goes to cover the costs of summer performers, the costs of arts and crafts supplies, and prizes to reward children’s reading.
“I couldn’t do it without them,” Ballard said of the Oconee County Library Friends. “We are extremely grateful for them.”
May 12 Kickoff
The summer program will launch on May 12 with Family Fun Day.
Ballard describes this as a “community carnival.”
“It brings kids into the library right away when school is ending,” Ballard said. “And it is just tons of free fun events to get them excited about the upcoming summer reading program.”
Friends volunteer and run that family fun day program, Ballard said.
“They set everything up. They break everything down,” she said.
Ballard said the purpose of the summer reading programs it “to get kids excited about reading.”
She said if she can get children into the library they realize it is an exciting place. “And once they are here they are hooked.”
A lot of studies have identified “something called a summer slump,” Ballard said.
“When kids are not in school and reading every single day, they lose a little bit of what they’ve learned. And they go back to the beginning of the next school year not quite at the same level where they left,” she said.
“But if they read a little bit every single day, that doesn’t happen,” Ballard said. “So they actually get ahead before the next school year starts.”
The summer program is targeted to children from birth to age 11, or through 5th grade.
Hours of Reading
The summer reading program includes at least one performer each week, on Wednesdays, Ballard said.
It also includes a regular storytime program every Tuesday and Thursday and movies on Mondays.
At least one other craft programs is scheduled each week, according to Ballard.
The summer reading prizes go through the entire summer.
“Kids will read books, and they bring in their reading log,” Ballard said. “For every 10 books they read they get a prize. And the Friends of the Library pays for that too.”
More than 17,000 attend the summer library events, according to Ballard.
“We log approximately 30,000 hours of reading in just those two and a half months,” she said.
Year Round Programming
“The book sale provides funds for almost everything we do here,” Ballard said.
“We do activities like this throughout the year too, and the library book sale pays for all of that too.”
I am a member of Oconee County Library Friends, but I have not been active in the work for the book sale.
Penny Mills, book sales coordinator, uses one of my cameras to help me record meetings throughout the county.
The Bogart Library and the Watkinsville Library, both part of the Athens Regional Library System, have separate Friends support groups.