Saline County Library to hold used-book sale

By Wayne Bryan Published January 19, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
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Linda Garner

Krista Petty of the Saline County Library looks over the Young Adult Fiction section that will be part of the library system’s one-day used-book sale on Saturday. The sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the lower level of the Bob Herzfeld Memorial Library in Benton.

On Saturday morning, a locked door in the lower level of the Bob Herzfeld Memorial Library in Benton will be open to library patrons flooding in, looking for inexpensive reading pleasures.

The event is the Saline County Library’s first one-day used-book sale of the year. Always a popular event, patrons purchase thousands of books that have been removed from the library’s shelves or donated by members of the community, including many of the patrons who will be doing the shopping.

“We have one person who comes in and will buy up all the Westerns,” said Erin Waller, director of the Saline County Library. “He will read through them and then donate them back for the next sale.”

During a tour of the sales room, Library Communication Coordinator Krista Petty said most of the books have been donated. Often the most popular categories of books, such as cookbooks, are all sold during a big sale, and it takes donations to replenish the stock for the sales.

The cookbooks are grabbed up by both men and women, Waller said.

Along with cookbooks, the top-selling genre sold during the library sales is romances.

“Like we saw last year, the Christian romances are grabbed up quickly,” Waller said. “I think readers like the romance, but it’s very tame with everyone married.”

Other popular romance categories include supernatural and paranormal tales, in which humans fall in love with vampires, ghosts and zombies, Waller said.

For men, Westerns have always topped the fiction sales figures, and next comes how-to books on repairs and crafts. Arts-and-crafts books are popular with women as well, Waller said.

Children’s books are also a favorite.

“We sell a lot of books for children and young adults,” Waller said. “They are great for teachers to use in class or for home-schoolers.”

Petty said donations are welcome and help the book sales, but the library has rules.

“We take in donations Wednesdays and Saturdays,” she said. “We have bins out front for donated books at both our libraries.”

Petty said all donated books need to be in cardboard boxes, and there should be no damaged books, especially those with water damage that could cause mold on the books.

“We don’t take magazines unless the subjects are crafts or cooking,” she said. “And we don’t take any encyclopedias, textbooks or other reference materials more than 5 years old.”

The library system also no longer accepts VHS video tapes or audio cassettes. Waller said that is why those items, which are normally being pulled from the library shelves, are so inexpensive.

“VHS tapes are five for $1, and DVD’s are $1 each,” she said. “But you can often find titles on sale here that you won’t find elsewhere.”

As for the printed materials, Waller said, paperbacks are 50 cents, and hardbacks, audio books and puzzles are $1 each.

“Patrons can also purchase romance and men’s adventure paperbacks that are marked with a red line at four for $1,” she said, “and magazines at 10 for $1.”

Waller added that there there could be some real treasures on the shelves at the sale.

“We have book dealers and collectors of rare books come in and sometimes leave with their hands filled with books,” she said. “They can be very particular.”

Library staff are always on the lookout for autographed books and rare editions that come in from donations. When the staff finds books like that, they are often pulled and kept as prizes or special gifts to be handed out during some of the library’s programs and events.

The funds raised from the sale support the year’s special programs at both branches of the Saline County Library: the Herzfeld Library in Benton, and the Mabel Boswell Memorial Library in Bryant. The libraries have special events several nights a week, including writing and painting classes, special events for young people, author talks and other programs of interest.

For more information about the book sales or making donations, contact the Herzfeld Library at (501) 778-4766.

Staff writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at (502) 244-4460 or at

Tri-Lakes Edition Writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at 501-244-4460 or

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