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Book Sale History
The library has held an ever-growing summer book sale to raise funds for the past 22 years, but fund-raising book sales have been conducted for a much longer time.
The William D. Himmelreich Memorial Library of the First Presbyterian Church on Market Street, the predecessor of The Public Library for Union County, held smaller sales of donated items and items that were culled from the collection. Donated books were stored in various locations, and the sale has been moved around to different locations in Lewisburg, too.
In the early 1980s, the library’s book sale was held on the front lawn of the First Presbyterian Church during the Lewisburg Festival of the Arts, and in later years in such places as the basement of a downtown store building and in an empty storefront on Market Street.
After the Public Library for Union County opened on Reitz Boulevard in April 1989, books for the sale were stored in the basement of the library, and the sale itself was held in the building’s foyer and adjoining multi-purpose room. The event continued to grow in size to the point where shoppers had difficulty maneuvering through the closely packed tables and boxes of books.
In 1999 the sale was moved outside under a large tent, and its popularity increased despite occasional severe weather that included two hurricanes the first year. About a week before the 1999 event, which then was held in September, heavy rain from the former Hurricane Dennis caused flooding in the library’s basement, damaging about half the books intended for the sale.
Volunteers lifted the wet, heavy boxes upstairs and helped set up the sale. A few days later, the tropical storm remnants of Hurricane Floyd blew down the big tent. Fortunately, nobody was injured, and that sale went on to make twice as much money for the library than any previous one. Books were sold by the bag or box, with buyers providing their own containers.
In July 2004, the last year that the sale was held on the library’s grounds, two large rented tents were used, one 30-by-60 feet and the other 20-by-20 feet. In 2005 the book sale was moved to the gymnasium of Faith Lutheran Church just west of Lewisburg along Route 45 across from the entrance to Brookpark Farm to make parking and access easier for shoppers, as well as to protect the materials from inclement weather. Also, the library began to provide bags of a uniform size for more efficient pricing.
Preparing for the book sales is a year-long process. Book Sale Committee volunteers regularly evaluate and sort donations of books and other materials at the library. Some donated books can be used to replenish worn or lost books in the library’s permanent collection and others are used in the adult outreach program. A few donated items are sold on the Internet, and others are sold during a special fall sale that has been held since 2008 in the library’s large meeting room. The majority of donated items, though, go into the summer book sale.
In 2012, the summer sale included more than 45,000 items.