Carolina Meadows residents take pride in their well-stocked library, and a volunteer-run book sale to raise funds for new acquisitions has drawn enthusiastic supporters for more than 20 years.
The recent event brought in a total of $2,660 in sales. These self-generating funds supplement an allowance from the Residents Association for new book purchases in regular and large print books, DVDs, audiocassettes and selected newspaper subscriptions.
The job is ongoing. As soon as one sale ends, work begins on the next one. Every Friday, the book sale co-chairs sort new donations by genre to be placed in grocery boxes and stored in the basement. This year’s co-chairs, Beverly McGraw and Ann Gabor, note that donations have increased over the past few years with by 2,000 to 3,000 books. Ninety-five percent of these donations come from residents, and 5 percent (some 700 books) are donated by incoming residents and others who know of the book sale and wish to contribute. It is significant, they note, that none of the books come from the library. Books discarded from the Carolina Meadows library are donated to North Carolina organizations such as the Family Violence & Rape Crisis Center, retirement communities, and correctional and prison systems.
A publicity campaign whips up book sale interest through articles in the Meadowlark newsletter, the Meadowlife resident web site and postings in mail kiosks. Posters go out to communities with similar interests as in Governors Club, Fearrington Village and Pittsboro. Then the hundreds of boxes are brought up from the basement for the long-awaited sale.
The one-day sale in the library attracts residents to an array of selections in mystery, biography, travel, art, humor, history, sports, reference, gardening, and cookbooks in both regular and large print. Decorative “coffee table” books are priced from $5 to $20; hardback and large-size paperback books are $1 while smaller paperbacks sell for 25 cents. Volunteer cashiers are kept busy working in two-hour shifts. During the last hour of the sale, residents can fill an entire bag of books for only $5.00. The remaining unsold books are distributed to groups such as Habitat for Humanity, the Literacy Council and the Pittsboro Library.
Used book dealers are given the opportunity to buy books at a pre-sale date, and they pay double the residents’ price for their purchases. This year their contribution totaled $800, or one-third of all sales. This policy has proven an effective way to increase sales while still offering plentiful book choices for residents.
The book sale offers residents another opportunity for socializing as they visit and compare book selections. While Kindles and other e-books hover on the horizon as competition, our residents are proud to support the pleasures of the “real thing” with a book stock kept current in a professionally run home library.
By Dorothy Mahan