Bargain book hunters flock to Blue Ridge Summit library sale

July 16, 2011|By C.J. LOVELACE |
  • Sue Miller of Waynesboro, Pa., buys a cup of ice cream from an Antietam Dairy employee as her grandson, 2-year-old Noah Miller, eagerly awaits the treat Saturday morning at the Blue Ridge Summit (Pa.) Free Library ice cream social and book sale. Also waiting for ice cream are two of her other grandchildren, Olivia Miller, 4, and Austin Staley, 6.
By C.J. Lovelace

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. — Every year, the Blue Ridge Summit Free Library ice cream social and book sale draws a crowd of bargain hunters, and Saturday was no different.

Amy Presnell, a library board member who is in charge of organizing the book sale that is one of the library's two yearly fundraisers, said people began lining up to check out the thousands of donated books by around 8 a.m.

"They're really anxious to get started," Presnell said, adding that a horn is used to signal the start of the 9 a.m. event on the library grounds.

A crowd of more than 50 people gathered around three 60-foot-long tables that were filled to capacity with books of all genres, plus some donated DVDs and CDs, by around 10 a.m.

Julie Desjardins, president of the library board, said the board collects books year-round to prepare for the event, which has grown into a communitywide festival with its ice cream social as well as a bake sale, plant sale, live music and activities for children.

"The community loves it," Desjardins said, noting that the sale helps the board support the library's historic building and maintain its collection. "We have a lot of things going on."

Although Desjardins isn't sure exactly how long the event has taken place at the small Pennsylvania library, she said some members of the Wayne Band, who opened Saturday's live entertainment lineup, could remember performing there as far back as the 1970s.

For about the past two decades, the Blue Ridge Summit Lions Club has attended the event and sold its popular corn brooms. John Justice, a past president of the Lions Club, said the library provides a great service to the community.

"And this is one of the last local events that still has that old-time community feel," he said.

A truck from Antietam Dairy provided the cool treats for the day, and Sue Miller of Waynesboro, Pa., was standing in line waiting to buy some ice cream for her three grandchildren, Austin Staley, 6, Olivia Miller, 4, and Noah Miller, 2.

It was Miller's first visit to the event, although she hadn't had a chance to check out any books yet with the young ones in tow.

"If I look at the books, I'll lose three children," she said. "It's wonderful. I don't feel like I have to hold hands (with the kids) ... and it's a great day for it."

The library, built in the 1850s and situated near the Pennsylvania-Maryland state line, serves four counties — Adams and Franklin in Pennsylvania and Frederick and Washington in Maryland.

"Anyone from Maryland can come and use our library without a fee even though we're a Pennsylvania library," Desjardins said. "We don't belong to one— we serve all."

Desjardins acknowledged a $5,000 donation from the Pen Mar Development Corp., which helped lighten the load on overhead costs for the day's activities.

A drop in state funding to libraries several years ago has left some scrambling to keep resources available to the community. Usage has been on the rise, but Desjardins couldn't say enough about the local community that supports the library.

"We're doing our best to keep using our funding as frugally as possible," she said. "As far as keeping up the building, we're wonderfully blessed with volunteers. We have a lot of help in the community to keep this building intact."

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