Last updated: June 14. 2014 10:13PM - 1414 Views
By Geri Gibbons Times Leader Correspondent

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WILKES-BARRE — With summer once again upon us, many area residents, young and old, are looking for fun ways to fill their time in addition to such activities as swimming or seasonal sports.

The 2014 Annual Book Sale sponsored by the Friends of the Osterhout Library provides opportunity for those residents to purchase books perfect for reading on the back porch after a long day or during a summer storm.

“We ask each department to give us a ‘wish list’ of items they would like to purchase that go beyond their basic budget. Monies raised often allow those departments to enhance their programs in ways that would otherwise not be possible,” President Veronica Buzinkai said.

Included on those wish lists are not only books, but also equipment such as computers, and even staff training that keep the library “on top of things,” both in regard to technology and information.

The annual event is a major fund raiser for the library, with the group donating more than $350,000 to the library over the last 37 years.

Jill Symbula said her family attends the sale every year to “try new stuff,” because of the very reasonable prices offered at the sale.

Millie Symbula, 11, thoroughly enjoys the chance to make her way through boxes of books geared towards teens, with her favorites being science and horror, and even books she might utilize throughout the upcoming school year.

Pauline Gabriel said, “I love books and this is a great deal, you can’t get any better.”

Volunteers and participants in the sale said they enjoy the opportunity to join with other book lovers in such a beautiful setting.

Buzinkai credits members of the Friends group and other area volunteers for making the event possible.

“Although the event itself is a week long,” she said, “we prepare for it all year long.”

The basement of the library fills with books in dozens of categories which volunteers then need to assess and categorize. The week of the event, those books then need to be carefully transferred from the basement to the tent. Volunteers say it is a labor of love.

“I have been volunteering at this event for four years,” said Bobby deTrafford. “It’s a great opportunity to join with others to give back to the community. And I love interacting with those attending.”

Volunteer A. J. Sutton said, “The reward for the work is when someone opens up a book and I see a big smile on their face.”

Elizabeth Sankey, a first time attendee, said she was very impressed with the selection available at the event. When asked what her favorite type of books were, a smiling Sankey said, “romance.”

The Osterhout Free Library goes beyond simply offering a variety of books to the public. It serves as a hub of activity and information complete with computers, discussion groups, book signings and special interest clubs. It also offers special programs for young people, including storytime events and teen discussion groups.

Many attendees said they were happy to be able to purchase books at bargain prices, while supporting such a wonderful effort.

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