Smoke damage from a fire late last year in the warehouse space utilized by the Friends of the Arlington Public Library means more work and bigger challenges as the group prepares for its first book sale since the incident.
The Spring Book Sale — scheduled for Thursday through Sunday at Meadowbrook Recreation Center, 1400 Dugan St., — will offer around 50,000 items for sale.
“The fire in the adjoining space at our warehouse caused the loss of over 200 boxes of books due to smoke damage, and a month’s worth of sorting,” said the group’s president, Wayne Halliburton. “Thanks to a hardy group of volunteers, we have caught up on sorting, but our sale will have many less books than usual.”
Friends members hope to make up for some of the loss through a partnership with the Arlington Fire Department.
“When the American Association of University Women decided to end their book sale last year, FAPL purchased some of the book collection barrels AAUW had placed in the fire stations for many years,” said Friends member Candy Halliburton.
More barrels were purchased, she said, so now every station in town has a bright red receptacle to accept books dropped off by donors. “In most cases, they are located on the front porch or just inside the facility,” she said.
Friends board members have each adopted a fire station and committed to track the accumulation of books and take them to the warehouse for sorting, Halliburton said.
With a smaller inventory, organizers have revamped some aspects of the sale to freshen it up and keep shoppers interested. Friends member Cathy Dietz said a new Best in Sale section will replace the former Collector’s Corner.
“We have worked to make it an interesting experience for all ages and interests. You can find fiction, signed items, history and military, Texana, pop art, cookbooks, juvenile, rare and bindings, and DVDs and CDs,” Dietz said.
Unusual finds include a rare 15-volume set of The Works of Charles Dickens and the 1909 set of the American Cyclopedia of the Automobile. Dietz said her favorites are An Old Sweetheart of Mine, 1903, by James Whitcomb Riley, with illustrations by Howard Chandler Christy, and Those Glorious Glamour Years, highlighting the stars and costume designs of the 1930s.
A book auction for members only on Wednesday — a preview day preceding the public sale — will have collectible, rare, historical, whimsical, Texana and other interesting and unusual items available. Items unsold at the preview will be offered in a silent auction on the first day of the public sale from 3 to 6 p.m.
Preparation for the sale is a labor-intensive undertaking requiring significant volunteer manpower. Jewel Hugo and Ruth McKee have worked for months coordinating the efforts of the volunteers donating their time for the sale.
Admission to the sale is free, and anyone is invited to join the Friends of the Arlington Public Library on the members-only night. Cash, check and credit cards are accepted.