Towson Library book sale always a success story

Patrons need only scan the library to see the results of the annual book sale fundraising efforts by the Friends of the Towson Library.

Permanent improvements include the booths, tables and carpets in the recently upgraded teen area, as well as additional toys and seating in the children's area, Jo Blankenburg, assistant manager of the Towson branch, said. The Friends also maintain all of the plants inside the library, and funded the "dragon maze" outside the library in the base of an old fountain.

"Over the years, the results (of the money raised) can be seen all through the branch," Blankenburg said.

Add to those physical improvements, the special programming offered at the library throughout the year, and the Friends are often reminded how integral their work is to advancing the library's causes.

"It's nice to know that we support so much," Friends of the Towson Library board member Nora Katula said. "When you go to the library and you know a lot of the Towson Library is enhanced by what we did, that's why we all do it."

The Friends are also buoyed by the idea that each year's annual book sale has outdone its predecessor. The 2013 edition, which begins Thursday, April 11, with a first-choice sale and continues through Sunday afternoon, April 14, looks to be no exception, organizers say.

"Last year, I believe we brought in around $15,000," Fay Citerone, president of the Friends of the Towson Library, said. "One of the reasons why we continue to increase our profitability is more and more people know about our sale."

"People who have been to the sale return from year to year, so we're getting a reputation for being one of the worthwhile book sales in the area — and the books are a great deal, too, very reasonable prices," Citerone said.

Two particularly large donors have boosted this year's selection. For months, Citerone has been taking boxes of books, CDs and VHS tapes out of the Parkville home of a friend's deceased friend.

Citerone estimates that as many as 6,000 items have come from the house so far, with around 2,000 yet to be removed.

Additionally, she said Alex Cooper Auctioneers is typically a large donor as well.

"When they get estates, a lot of times that will include books," Citerone said. "If they can't sell those books in a certain amount of time, they give them to us. A lot of times they're nice art books, large coffee table books or books on Maryland. Were very grateful for their donations."

All of the extra donations mean extra products to sell and thus, more money that will ultimately go back into the library.

Last year, Citerone said that most of the money went into programming, though no one is sure what Lisa Hughes, the branch's new manager, will decide to do with the spoils of her first Friends book sale.

"We're waiting to find out from the Towson Library just what they would prefer to spend the money on," Citerone said. "We do know that they have a lot of programming ideas and in the past, they've used our money to sponsor a lot of children's programs, and I'm sure that will continue. But we really follow their lead on this. Whatever their needs are, we try to fill them."

The Friends of the Towson Library Book Sale begins with a first-choice sale from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. The first-choice sale is free for members and costs $10 for non-members. The sale will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and bulk pricing of $2 per foot will be offered on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Call 410-887-6166 for more information.

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