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Wilson book sale benefits legal services

May 12, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - With 1,250 boxes, 125 display tables and 60 yellow category signs around her, JoEllen Keller estimated that more than 60,000 books were available at the 23rd annual Friends of Legal Services Book Sale.

Last year, the sale generated more than $40,000 for Franklin County Legal Services and its assistance in domestic violence, neglect, abuse and civil matters.

Four hundred people were waiting in line when the doors of Wilson College's Laird Hall opened Friday morning. The sale continues today and Sunday.

The volunteers who organize the sale often are its biggest fans, according to Keller and fellow worker Esther Buck.

"We seem to appeal to people who have an interest in reading or recycling their used books," Buck said. "You don't want to trash them because they're your good friends."

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The vast majority of the gently used "good friends" sell from $1 to $4, while paperbacks are 50 cents. Sunday again will serve as the bag sale, when a $5 paper bag can be filled to the brim with finds.

One special find from Friday was a book from the Trixie Belden series likely published in the 1940s or 1950s, volunteer Carolyn Carter said. A Gettysburg, Pa., man paid a dollar for the copy valued at $40, she said.

"He knew exactly what he was looking for," said Carter, who also assisted a man who had driven from Cleveland for the sale.

"We have more old books than we did before," said Keller, who sorted donations four days a week for the past three months.

"It's very well organized, very well run," said Elaine Haller of Shippensburg, Pa.

Haller's first time at the sale resulted in purchases of a gardening book and espionage tale as well as a set of sheet music.

Jerome and Janet Curry of Fayetteville, Pa., returned to the sale for about their 10th year.

"We always circle it on our calendar," Janet Curry said.

The couple often shops on the first day, then returns Sunday for the bag sale.

"I found some children's books and some pleasure reading for myself," Janet Curry said. "Last year, I found 'The Secret Life of Bees,' and I love that."

Bob Yeingst, a retired school librarian from Newburg, Pa., picked up mostly mystery books, and he quickly filled three bags.

"I'm here with a friend, and she told me a bit ago that's it's time to go," he said with a laugh.

Franklin County Legal Services provides assistance with matters such as housing/landlord disputes, Social Security, unemployment and consumer protection for low-income residents.

"A major part of our work deals with family law," Executive Director Mahesh Rao said.

The staff includes two attorneys, a paralegal and a law student, he said.

"We opened more than 900 new cases in 2006," Rao said, explaining that the volume of cases is increasing.

The book sale "provides a very substantial part of our funding base," he said.

For more information about Franklin County Legal Services, call 717-262-2326.

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