Anniston’s library is set to become a “library of things,” thanks to a little help from its friends.
The Public Library of Anniston and Calhoun County held one of its quarterly book sales Saturday morning, offering half-off discounts on used books to members of its Friends of the Library program, a nonprofit manned by volunteers that helps circulate money into the library’s general fund. Like others before it this year, the sale supports programs of the library.
The newest program, according to library director Teresa Kiser, will let the library loan out more than books and multimedia, with library cardholders able to borrow anything from ukuleles to sewing machines and green screen kits for putting special effects into home movies. Librarians are cataloguing items now, she said, with the hope that loans can start in January.
Borrowers will need to have been library card holders in good standing for a year to borrow items without putting down a deposit, Kiser explained. It’s a good way to save some money for folks who aren’t sure they really want to learn to play the piano or who need to borrow tools for only a short time.
“We’re going to include items that someone might need for a day or a week, but not necessarily all the time,” Kiser said.
Want to find buried treasure in the back yard? Borrow a metal detector. Looking to transfer home movies from VHS tape to DVD? There’s a contraption for that.
“It’s because of the Friends of the Library that we can do that,” she added.
Formally organized in 1960, Friends of the Library was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1997, Kiser said, and allows the library to apply for grants for which it might not otherwise be eligible. Grants, quarterly book sales — stocked with donations and library discards — and annual memberships to the program have helped create a computer lab at the library’s Carver branch on 14th Street, for instance, where evening computer classes are held.
Marylin Reynolds, a member of the Friends of the Library board, said there are about 230 people who had donated money to join the organization. Reynolds was among volunteers selling books Saturday. She said anyone interested in joining the Friends of the Library can do so at the front desk or at any book sale. They’re held on the first Saturday in February, May, August and November, she said. Individuals can sign up for $10 or $20 for a family, along with higher donation levels. Members get discounts on books during the sales.
Christy Tye, a retired Kitty Stone librarian from Jacksonville, and her brother Marvin both had plastic bags full of books on their way out the library’s side entrance Saturday morning.
Tye said she’d managed to find books by her favorite author, Terri Blackstock, a suspense writer who penned the “Cape Refuge” series, which Tye found in its entirety. She couldn’t pick her favorite book of Blackstock’s, she said.
“They’re all such good stories,” Tye said.