Old Book Sale will have new home when sale opens

alopez@macon.comFebruary 19, 2014 

The annual Friends of the Library Old Book Sale is a week away, and crews are working to get its new home ready.

The book sale is back at Central City Park after two years at the Edgar H. Wilson Convention Center, but it’s relocating to a building that’s never been used for a public event.

This week, city workers have been steam cleaning the floor in a former beverage distributor warehouse, as well as working on heating and lighting systems, a wooden frame for a new entrance and a footpath leading to the building.

A moving company will begin delivering more than 100,000 books to the warehouse this weekend.

“We feel good right now,” said Andy Newton, book sale chairman, after visiting the building this week.

A lot of progress has been made since book sale organizers visited last week, he said, when the building was full of old pallets and other leftovers from its warehouse days.

The book sale was started 46 years ago by the Friends of the Library, a group of volunteers whose purpose is to support Macon-Bibb’s public libraries. Last year, the group donated $60,000 to the system.

At the Friends of the Library headquarters in Macon, where many donated books are kept in anticipation of the sale, Cathy Ivey has been working to price and box up the last of the volumes.

Despite having to scramble to find a location after learning that the convention center would not be available, the book sale was never in danger of postponement or cancellation, Ivey said.

“We were going to do whatever it took to make this book sale happen,” said Ivey, a former Friends of the Library president and a volunteer of more than 30 years.

Thrilled to be back

The warehouse, formerly owned by United Distributors and now owned by Macon-Bibb, was actually the second site offered for the book sale by the Macon-Bibb Parks and Recreation Department.

This year, organizers thought the book sale would be held in the Round Building at Central City Park and a rectangular building behind it, with a tent connecting the two venues. When the city-county government realized renovations at the Round Building would not be ready in time for the book sale, it offered the old warehouse instead, Newton said.

“The challenge was getting it cleaned up,” he said.

The building has many advantages, Ivey said. Because the space is so large (roughly the length of a football field), the book sale can be housed entirely inside one room.

This will allow customers to “gasp at astonishment at the number of books,” Ivey said.

Organizers also will have more freedom at the warehouse than they did at the convention center, Newton said. The Friends of the Library would have returned to the center had space been available for the days it requested, but Newton acknowledged it would have been more expensive compared to leasing space from the recreation department.

The uncertainty over the book sale’s location delayed event advertising, but organizers are thrilled to be back at Central City Park, “a location our customers have traditionally loved,” Ivey said.

The warehouse is located at 150 Willie Smokey Glover Drive, adjacent to the former Georgia Department of Driver Services building in Central City Park.

The Friends of the Library Old Book sale will run Feb. 27-March 2. For more information, visit www.friendsofthelibrarymacon.com.

Signs directing drivers to the location and a big banner at the building entrance will be set up for the book sale.

“It will be really easy for customers to figure out where to go,” Ivey said.

To contact writer Andres David Lopez, call 477-4382.

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