From the Beacon: Support your local library by buying used books from Friends

If you still like buying your books in the old-school paper format, then don't count the library out.

While most visitors come to the library looking to borrow, you can also find books for sale at each branch. All book sales managed by each branch's Friends of the Library group. These sales are just one of many ways Friends support our local branches. Volunteers spend countless hours organizing and processing book donations given by the community. The nonprofit groups then use the money raised from these sales to support the library. They might put the money toward library furniture or shelving units, or help librarians fund programs or activities.

The loss of library service hours has led to less book sale revenue, but Friends groups continue to push hard for donations. Many customers, who could be best described as book sale "frequent fliers," purchase popular titles for a few dollars, and redonate them for resale a few weeks down the road.

The book sale at the Bluffton library earned $11,545 dollars in 2011, and has earned $3,222 so far this year. The sale at the Hilton Head Island library earned $40,680 in 2011, and $31,000 in the 2012 fiscal year. In Beaufort, Friends earned $32,065 over a 10-month period ending in April; $21,100 of that was raised from a well-planned sale at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in the fall.

In Bluffton, volunteers visit daily to work on organizing the book sale, which is near the front doors of the building. Best-sellers are gobbled up quickly. Authors such as James Patterson, David Baldacci and Mary Higgins Clark regularly fill the shelves. Most books are between 25 cents and a few dollars apiece.

One of the best times to stop by this sale is on the last Saturday of each month. The Friends use this sale to move out old stock, filling several tables with items that will all go for a quarter each. It's also a great time to stop by and say hi to volunteers who coordinate the effort, as they are on hand for the majority of the day.

If you're in the market for children's or young adult items, it's wise to stop and take a peek at the sale items on display just outside the children's room.

When available, items such as beginning readers can be found for a nickel or dime apiece.

t the Hilton Head library, the Friends have an unusual bookshop that is open during select hours in the main lobby and staffed by volunteers. There, carts are stocked with sale items daily, priced anywhere from 50 cents to $3 apiece.

The Friends group in St. Helena has a developing book sale. Their biggest single-ticket sale was $63 for a box of children's items. The branch will move from the elementary school to a new free-standing building this fall