By James Beaty
McALESTER — Twice yearly, the Hartshorne Friends of the Library hosts a book fair to raise money for the library’s Summer Reading Program and other special activities.
The Friends’ spring fund-raiser kicked off Thursday with its semi-annual book sale, which will continue from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Inside the library are rows of books offered for the sale, running the gamut of literary genres, and including popular and historical books as well. Friends of the Library Vice President Jim Kurilko led the effort to compile the books into categories, ranging from fiction and non-fiction, to self-help and children’s books.
Last year, a number of children and teens benefited from the Summer Reading Program at the library. Hartshorne Assistant Librarian Cindy Bedford said 363 children and 57 teens registered for the program last summer. “They read over 2,000 books,” she said.
Among the first — and biggest customers — for the Friends of the Library Book Sale on Thursday were sisters Brenda Painter, of McAlester, and Sue Anthony, of Bugtussle, who drove to Hartshorne for the opening day.
“We were shopping in Tulsa yesterday and we worked this up,” Painter said, relating how they decided to come together to the Hartshorne event. It’s become an annual outing for Painter. “She comes every year,” Anthony said of her sister.
The two were buying books not only for themselves, but for others as well. Anthony said she bought four boxes of books, while her sister bought three. “I read pretty well anything and I bought westerns for my dad,” Anthony said. Painter said she bought some books for her mom, while she herself reads “anything but westerns.”
Friends of the Library Chairman Virginia Barlow and FOL Treasurer Shirley McBee had a station set up outside the door leading to the book sale, where they checked out patrons with their purchases. The two were glad to help. “The summer reading program in this library is fantastic,” Barlow said.
In addition to the Summer Reading Program, the Hartshorne FOL assists with other projects as well. “We can buy things for the library that’s not in their budget,” Barlow said. For example, the FOL bought the flag pole outside the library, she said. As Painter and Anthony were checking out, Marsha Rouse scanned rows of books, looking for those special finds.
“I like historical fiction,” said Rouse, who lives just outside Hartshorne. “And anything about the Old South, I love it.” Even though historical fiction is many times built around fictional characters, Rouse said it often also includes enough history that she learns a lot. She discovered several she wanted to add to her collection as she scanned the rows of books offered for sale.
Books either come from donations or from discards culled from library shelves. Members of the Friends of the Library hope they continue to have a steady turnout for the duration of the book sale, so the Summer Reading Program and other library projects will benefit. “It’s a good cause,” Kurilko said.
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