Tyler Public Library Readies For Annual Book Sale
By JACQUE HILBURN-SIMMONS
Dr. Sebetha Jenkins may be retired from her role as president of Jarvis Christian College, but she didn't shelve her love of literacy.
The retired educator, who stepped away from her day job in 2008, was among the volunteers helping organize hundreds of books for the Tyler Public Library's annual book sale, which starts Thursday.
"A vitally important issue in the community is reading," Dr. Jenkins said. "I know technology is taking over, but there is nothing as precious as a parent sitting down with a child and reading a book."
The book sale provides affordable opportunities for parents to build their own home library, she said.
And that's important, she noted, because sharing a good book with a child can instills a love of reading that can last a lifetime.
"Just being here makes me feel good, Dr. Jenkins said with a smile.
Summer is still a few months away, but it's never too early to stockpile plenty of entertaining reading material for the entire family, library officials said.
Armloads of good reads are up for grabs at bargain basement prices -- adult books for $1 and children's books for 50 cents.
On Sunday, the buys get even better -- $5 for an entire box; $2 for a bag.
"If you want it, we probably have it," Evelyn McLane, programming associate, said. "We've probably got something for everyone and every bit of the money goes directly into an account that's only used to buy new books for the library -- we encourage people to fill and overfill their bags."
Sale hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The library is at 201 S. College Ave.
Ms. McLane said this year's sale features a little bit of just about everything: history, travel, romance, sports, politics, education, religion, classics, folklore and children's.
"New for this year, we have a Fit City section," Ms. McLane said. "That section contains more than just diet books, it has books about life and changing our lifestyles to be more fit."
The sale also features a varied selection of children's literature, including author, illustrator Bill Pete, creator of the beloved classics such as Big Bad Bruce and Huge Harold.
Some books in the sale are slightly used, but ready for more page-turning action.
"This is the best form of recycling," Ms. McLane said.
Hubbard Middle School eighth-grader Sohieb Kandeel, 13, found the task of sorting through books a good service project.
Kandeel said he prefers to read a good mystery, but he's willing to keep an open mind.
"I just read any book that's good," he said.
Volunteer Robert E. Lee High School freshman Melanie Webb, 15, said she looks forward every year to helping organize the sale.
She also devotes time during the summer to helping with children's programming.
"I will pretty much read any fiction, but right now I'm hooked on Michael Crichton," she said. "It's really page turning ... you can't put it down."
Volunteer Lateia Larkin, 16, a sophomore at Robert E. Lee, said she decided to volunteer to fulfill community service hours Leadership East Texas.
She enjoys reading work by horror fiction writer Darren Shan.
"It's awful, I know, but scares give me a thrill," Miss Larkin said with a grin. "I really love fiction books. I've volunteered at a library a couple of times. She (Ms. McLane) makes it interesting. It's also a great way to meet people."
Library officials said they work all year long to amass quality selections for the sale, relying on books that were donated or withdrawn from circulation.
Dr. Jenkins said it is worth stopping by the sale just to see the selection.
"We are so appreciative of the people who donated the books," Dr. Jenkins said. "Without them, we couldn't do this sale."