DENHAM SPRINGS — Several dozen book lovers lined up early Saturday at the Denham Springs-Walker Branch of the Livingston Parish Library awaiting the opening of the library’s doors for the fall used book sale sponsored by Friends of the Livingston Library System.
When the doors opened at 9 a.m., volunteers — all members of FOLLS — manned the book sale, which attracts avid readers and book collectors from a wide area. Book buyers were busily perusing the several hundred volumes donated to the organization for the event, which raises money for library programs that would otherwise not be funded, library officials said.
Danette Brunet, vice president of FOLLS, said the Livingston Parish Library System is supported by voter-approved ad valorem taxes that fund the system. However, she said those funds cannot be used for special programs that enhance the library experience in the parish. That’s where FOLLS seeks to make a difference.
The organization holds fall, spring and summer used book sales to raise money for the Livingston Parish Book Festival, held Nov. 15 at the Main Branch in Livingston. The 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. festival will celebrate books, literacy, music and Livingston Parish.
Amanda Ranck, a FOLLS member working the book sale, said the organization provides prizes, e-readers and awards for the festival. In addition, FOLLS helps support the library system’s Summer Reading Program, which encourages young parish residents to read. Ranck said that FOLLS purchases bicycles as rewards for young people who embrace the library system’s programs.
FOLLS collects books donated by residents who no longer need the volumes. Organization members sort the books and carefully divide them into categories to make selection easier for the patrons who come looking for the used books. The books are then neatly placed on shelves that are readily available for customers.
The sales have been very well-received, Brunet said, adding that over the years FOLLS has been “very successful … we have made a lot of money for the library system.” Brunet said paperbacks cost a quarter and hardback books are 50 cents. Also on sale were DVDs and CDs, which sell for $1 each. The low prices seem to be one of the main attractions of the book sale.
Dustin May, a youth pastor at the First Baptist Church of Berwick, who had already selected an impressive stack of books early in the day, said of the sale, “I love books, I love to read … I am especially looking for books on history, politics and current affairs, and this is a great place to find what I am looking for at a great price.”
May, whose parents live in Denham Springs, said he drove from Berwick because he knew that FOLLS would be hosting the sale over the weekend.
Another customer, O’Neil Couvillion, who was perusing the fiction section, said, “Oh, I really enjoy reading, and this is a wonderful chance to get good books at a bargain. It’s an inspiration to be here … there is all kinds of good stuff here. I read a great deal, and this is where I come to get my books.”
Couvillion, a retired sales clerk, was eager to share his affection for books. He reached for a thick Clive Cussler tome and reverently presented it saying, “Here, just read the introduction and you won’t be able to stop. There’s all kinds of great books like that one at this sale.”
The youngest customer at the book sale, Zoe Allen, 7, when asked if she likes to read, said, “Absolutely. I am looking for children’s books, and I think that I have found some I like.”
Her mother, Jannelle Allen, said she is an avid reader. She said she enjoys many books, especially classics, and she has been able to find volumes she likes at bargain prices.
Brunet said the book sales attract customers of all ages with varying interests but all enjoy reading. She said that some customers buy books from the FOLLS sale to resell at flea markets.
“The members of the Friends of the Livingston Library System come from different backgrounds and bring various experiences to our organization,”Brunet said. “However, we all share one common bond, and that’s that we love books and enjoy reading. We meet quarterly and the talk at our meetings is about the library and books. Serving in this organization is fulfilling, and we enjoy what we do,” said Brunet, a retired school librarian.
The steady stream of customers on the Saturday of the three-day sale was testimony to the appreciation the public has for the public service being performed by the Friends, who bring a popular and successful program to the residents of Livingston Parish.