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Bargains for Bibliophiles

Bibliophiles browsed through bins, boxes and tables overflowing with books on Friday, Oct. 15, at the Fairfax City Regional Library. The bargain hunters were taking advantage of the weekend-long used-book sale, sponsored by the Friends of Fairfax City Regional Library (FFCRL).

According to group president Marilyn Feldman, the FFCRL has been around for 25 to 30 years and exists solely to support the library in its service to the community.

Feldman says that the group usually raises $25,000 to $30,000 each year. In August, the group presented a check for $50,000 to the Fairfax County Public Library Foundation Inc.

Feldman said that the money it raises is spent buying periodicals, magazines — in both hard copy and electronic form — carts and display cases for the library. The group also conducts luncheons to support library volunteers; provides books to local hospital, nursing homes and local head start programs; and funds children's programs.

"We're a small group of book lovers who want the community to have the same pleasure from books that we've had," Feldman said. "About 10 people come in each Tuesday to do all of the work."

ABOUT 10 or 20 volunteers help out each week, but around book sale times that number rises to about 60.

Herb Rathner and Bob Thompson of the local Kiwanis Club were two of the volunteers at the recent book sale. They worked as cashiers, waiting for customers at a table on the library's main floor.

Thompson likes to help out at both the spring and the fall book sales. "We do whatever they tell us to do," he said. "I look forward to it. It's a great volunteer opportunity."

The sales are also a great opportunity to find a bargain. On Oct. 20, Allyson Mosher happened upon the book sale during her trip to the library. When she discovers one of the book sales she usually stops and looks for some children's books. "They're a lot cheaper than getting them in the bookstores, and kids like to hold onto them."

Community donations account for 95 percent of the books on sale. Old library books that have been de-accessioned, due to poor condition or infrequent circulation, make up the remaining 5 percent. Between the two major books sales, The Friends of Fairfax City Regional Library maintains some sales racks in the library.