Roundup for readers

April 21, 2005|by PEPPER BALLARD

WASHINGTON COUNTY - With a suitcase at her side, Annette Polk flipped through books for sale Wednesday at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center, saying she'd probably pack the suitcase full of books before she resorts to filling the backpack stuffed in her luggage.

"I've outdone myself in the past," said Polk, who was looking for home-schooling material.

Polk was among 375 people who stood in line to get first dibs on the nearly 60,000 books for sale during the first day of the annual spring book sale held by the Hagerstown branch of the American Association of University Women.

The sale runs through Sunday.

Many of the books are donated by community members, Joann Fillingham, the event's publicity chairwoman said. The Washington County Free Library donates books no longer in circulation, and people can donate books throughout the year for the sale by dropping them off at the library.


The Agricultural Education Center's back room had the feel of a library Wednesday. Nearly every person who scanned the colorful bindings, which lined the folding tables, seemed serious. Some barely flinched as others skirted through the narrow aisles behind them with boxes and shopping bags.

"Everybody's concentrating on finding the right author," said Candy Albright, who had collected a few James Patterson novels and was really excited.

Albright, 36, of Falling Waters, W.Va., said she usually buys books on the Internet, but found it fun digging through the stacks.

"I can always find ones I haven't read," she said.

After only about 15 minutes of shopping, Howard Brown had filled a large cart with about 50 books, many of which were about war. Brown, 70, of Martinsburg, W.Va., said he trades books and collects them.

"We have an extra house just for this," he said. Brown said he has about 3,000 books in his library. Even though some books piled in his cart were starting to slide, Brown said he wouldn't stop there.

"I've got more boxes in the car," he said.

Laura Vaughn, 48, of Boonsboro, had a different strategy. With a stack of Andrew Greeley novels in her arms, Vaughn said she opted out of bringing a bag or box, "so I don't buy any more than I can fit in my hands."

Vaughn, who said she won't fight over a book, said she was happy to see so many people interested in reading.

"It renews your faith in it, doesn't it? I thought it was something that was falling by the wayside, but I guess I was wrong," she said.

The spring book sale started in 1963 as a fund-raiser for a new library building on South Potomac Street in Hagerstown, Fillingham has said. The book sale became an annual event several years later.

Last year, the spring book sale netted about $35,000, and the fall sale raised about $5,000, Fillingham has said.

The Herald-Mail Articles