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Bookin’ it: FOSL Book Sale raises funds to support community literacy

By Staff | May 17, 2019

Brett Gallagher, of Shepherdstown, helps her four-year-old son, Benjamin Gallagher look through the children's books at the Friends of the Shepherdstown Library Book Sale on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — “A book worth reading is a book worth buying,” according to English art critic John Ruskin. And the Friends of the Shepherdstown Library once again took this quote to heart, as it held its Spectacular Annual Book Sale in the War Memorial Building last weekend.

According to the event chair, Ross Patterson, the sale’s proceeds are all donated to the Shepherdstown Public Library, after paying for the building rental.

“This sale in particular helps us support the library and its programs,” Patterson said. “Last year’s proceeds went directly to the library’s building fund. Normally, and I believe this year again, we talk with the library about where they’d like the money donated.

“Libraries are a public good, but here in West Virginia we don’t have the money to fund our libraries well,” Patterson said. “Every dollar we can pump towards supporting the library’s activities is important.”

While the variety of books in the sale was similar to previous years’ sales, there were some minor changes Patterson noticed in donations.

Michael Wright, of Rockville, Maryland, skims through a book at the Friends of the Shepherdstown Library Book Sale on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

“I would say we have less books about the government, and more books on local topics, such as Appalachia,” Patterson said, mentioning some rare books could also be found at the sale, including a first edition of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garca Mrquez. “We have a lot more books than we did last year. My estimate was we brought in about 5,000 this year from storage and donations.”

As in previous years, Patterson said the most popular donation and purchase was children’s book.s

“There’s always a ton of children’s books — I guess because kids keep getting older,” Patterson said with a grin. “Children’s books are always good sellers.”

For Shepherdstown resident Brett Gallagher, the expansive children’s book section is one of the reasons she, her husband and their four-year-old son come to the sale every year.

“This might be our fourth or fifth year — we look forward to it, we know when it’s coming and mark it on our calendar,” Gallagher said of the annual sale, mentioning her son gets excited when he learns they are going to the sale. “He has lived in town his whole life, so now he knows that the book sale means he might get some new books.”

Christopher Wright, of Rockville, Maryland, places his book purchases into a box after paying for them at the Friends of the Shepherdstown Library Book Sale on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

This year’s sale not only attracted local residents, but it also brought in some traffic due to its being held on Mother’s Day weekend. Rockville, Maryland resident Michael Wright held a stack of books in his hands, as he skimmed through a few last books before determining his final selection from the sale.

“It’s Mother’s Day and my mom wanted to come,” Wright said, mentioning he and his brother came from Maryland to be with their mother for the weekend. “I’ve looked through pretty much everything here. I like the selection, it’s a nice variety of topics. There are a number of books that I would read, and I think a lot of people would be interested in.”