WILKES-BARRE —Friends of the Osterhout Free Library tossed confetti and toasted each other with sparkling water around noon Friday as their president, Irene Martin, of Wilkes-Barre, officially moved the red center of a thermometer poster up to the $500,000 mark.
After 42 years of book sales, and thousands of volunteer hours, the Friends had raised half a million dollars for the library.
“It’s a great feeling, a wonderful feeling of accomplishment,” said Barbara Ambrose, a Friend from Wilkes-Barre Township, as volunteers and patrons congratulated each other under a large tent on the library’s patio.
“It is an accomplishment this year,” Martin said, “but you can’t forget the hard work of all the sales chairmen and other volunteers who worked hard all the other years.”
The library’s 42nd annual book sale concludes from 9:30 to noon Saturday with “bag day,” which means you can buy a bag of books for a few dollars, or take away a box filled with books of your choice for $10.
“It will be wild,” predicted Friends vice president Marie McCormick, of Wilkes-Barre. “Lots of people wait for that second Saturday (of the sale) to get the bargains.”
But patrons had already been snapping up bargains all week.
One of the book lovers whose purchases helped the library surpass its goal on Friday was Carmen Flores, of Wilkes-Barre, who paid $32 for 64 paperbacks she expects to share with family members.
“We have a library at home, at my mother’s house, and even if we don’t live there anymore we all visit and borrow the books,” said Flores, who teaches in the Hazleton Area School District. “I have a lot of paranormal romances here, and just a lot of fiction.”
Another patron, Maureen Radzwilka, who is a nurse from Exeter, was pleased with a smaller armload of books, including a nursing textbook and a volume about the first responder heroes of Sept. 11, 2001.
Still on the tables Friday afternoon were Bibles, Harlequin romances, vintage classics, humor books such as “Moby-Duck,” cookbooks, children’s books and more.
“We’d like to see every last book go to a new home,” Osterhout director of development Chris Kelly said, urging patrons to come out for the last day of the sale.
Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT