Houston County Friends of the library ready to roll out book sale

May 1, 2013 

Houston County Friends of the Library will hold its Old Book Sale on Thursday through Saturday at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry. The sale will take place in the Georgia Building, which is located near the clock tower. The preview sale is 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday with admission price of $5 all day for Friends organization nonmembers. Members are admitted free of charge with their membership card. Hours on Friday will be 9 a.m.-8 p.m. On Saturday, the hours will be 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and most items will be half price. There is no admission charge Friday and Saturday.

The annual Old Book Sale is frequently referred to as the event where “the Houston Friends build a small library in one day,” considering that they bring together tens of thousands of books in more than 60 categories. People in the past have traveled from as far away as north Georgia communities and the contiguous states to enjoy the sale. “The Georgia Building is such a wonderful venue for our sale,” said Pam Yates, member of Houston County Friends of the Library and board member of the county library system. “People love the benches at our sale because it allows them to stay longer and look over our books,” she said.

Yates relates an interesting recent experience in preparing for this year’s sale. “Do you remember the old song that begins ‘Hang down your head, Tom Dooley,’’’ she said. “There really was a Tom Dooley, but his name was Tom Dula, and he supposedly murdered Laura Foster in North Carolina,” she said.

“The Old Book Sale will be offering a book entitled ‘The Ballad of Tom Dula’ by John Foster West,” Yates said. She goes on to explain that the Friends never know where a book comes from that is donated for the sale. As it turns out, the prior owner of the Tom Dula book enhanced it with color photographs and a news article about the gravestone of Tom Dula, which reads “Tom Dula, hanged May 1, 1866 for the murder of Laura Foster.”

“Being a history buff and always loving a mystery, I skimmed through this book and couldn’t put it down,” Yates said. It turns out that the book discusses nine versions of the Tom Dula affair and murder that happened 147 years ago. The book points out that legal documents pertaining to the incident don’t even agree on the date of the murder. Moreover, stories of conspiracies, jealousies, questionable legal procedures and scandals came into play that eventually some people believed Dula was hanged for a crime he did not commit.

“People can find this interesting book along with many others at the Old Book Sale,” Yates said. There will be book cases in front of the Georgia Building where the Friends have displayed many books that are out of print and collectible. “Even though they are old, they are worth a second look,” Yates said.

If you are not currently a member of the Houston County Friends of the Library, it is easy to sign up. You can either pick up an application at any of the three branch locations in the county or print one from the Friends of the Library website, houpl.org/?page_id=773. Membership is renewed annually. Dues are $5 for individuals, $8 for military families, $10 for other families, $50 for patron/corporate and $100 for life membership.

Marsha Priest Buzzell is executive director of the Warner Robins Convention & Visitors’ Bureau. Contact her at 922-5100 or cvb@wrga.gov.

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