(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Sure the Sikeston Public Library's annual book sale means great bargains for area readers, but library director Sue Tangeman guarantees the sale means a lot more to book buyers than they may realize.
"Last year there was an elderly gentleman who missed the book sale and he was very upset about it," Tangeman recalled. "But he knows about it this year. He's already told us he's seen the sign out front."
Tangeman is talking about the sign in front of the library stating this year's book sale will be from 5-8 p.m. April 3, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 5 and 1-3 p.m. April 6.
Book buyers will be surprised at what they find at the book sale, noted Tangeman.
"One year a gentleman was looking through some history books and all of a sudden, he came across a book that had information about his ancestors," she said. "He only paid $1 or $2 for it, but it was worth millions to him."
Around October library volunteer of nine years, Joanne Roberts, who is also in charge of the book sale, begins sorting through the year's boxes of donated books on a weekly basis.
"I make it my winter project," Roberts said. "I go through the books, price them and pack them in boxes until time for the sale."
Roberts said she loves her job because she gets to read the books as they come into the library. And through the years she's seen a lot of books. Roberts estimated she goes through nearly 3,000-5,000 books (or 50-60 boxes) for the sale.
Some of the books put in the sale are duplicates of what the library has, while others are simply outdated. There are also materials donated throughout the year to the facility specifically for the sale.
Sometimes old books come through the library, too, Roberts said.
"There was a really old book that dated back between 1936 and 1942. The paper was different and the printing was different. It was really interesting," Roberts recalled.
Readers of all ages will find something they like, Tangeman assured. From children's books to reference materials to paperback books, there's really no limit to the different types of books the library has to offer, she explained.
Bookworms and bargain shoppers living within a 60-mile radius of Sikeston visit the book sale each year. Local residents and their relatives or people who are just passing through make up the large portion of buyers, Tangeman said.
Bargain prices generate repeat shoppers each year, and Tangeman said the library staff and volunteers do recognize faces from year to year.
Books are sold for 50 cents to $3 for individual books, $25 for encyclopedia sets and $1-$3 for hard-covered books.
Of course the earlier you arrive, the better selection you will have, Tangeman said, but many people wait until the last day of the sale before doing any shopping. On the last day, they can bring a brown grocery bag and fill it up with as many books as they can for $1.
"You'd be surprised how much they can fit into a bag," Tangeman laughed. "Even if they don't fill the bag up, it's $1 -- and they're still getting a good deal. It's a win-win situation."