The Transylvania Times -

AAUW Thanks Community For Successful Sale - Brevard, NC


July 27, 2017

Derek McKissock

More than 30,000 books were collected this year for the AAUW's annual book sale.

"Last year we thanked the Brevard Community for our 'biggest ever' book sale, but this year we topped even that," said AAUW book sale chair Pat Hawkins. "We didn't start off with the overwhelming number of books that we had last year (just 31,000 versus 42,000), but we sold more of them than ever before. We can't thank Brevard enough for everyone's support of our mission to provide young women with educational experiences that can change their lives."

"We had our best first day ever and that pace continued through the rest of the sale," said Pinkie Byrd, this year's co-chair.

Indeed, the parking lot in front of the Brevard College's Boshamer Gym was full when the sale opened and a couple hours later half of the Porter Center parking lot was full. At the end of the sale, AAUW members who came to clean up were stunned by how few books hadn't been sold.

"One of our regular book sale enthusiasts told me she thought it was because we had a better selection of quality books this year," said Byrd.

This dynamic duo has traded off chairing and co-chairing the sale for the past several years, coordinating and leading all the members who work on the sale, to exceed the group's gross sales goal of $30,000 by a nice margin for yet another year.

This year-long effort truly is a community affair: from the collection of books from the community to the sale of books back to the community, which in turn funds those much-needed scholarships for girls and young women in the community. WWUW couldn't do it without the enormous help of everyone in Transylvania County and beyond, not to mention the thousands of hours of volunteer work put in this effort by our branch's members – 181 strong at the time of the sale, the largest branch in the state.

It may not be known but every year AAUW starts from scratch collecting books, going from zero to over 30,000 in a year. The generosity of the Brevard community in donating books year after year is overwhelming, as is the support in attending the sale and buying the books. Without this generosity, there would be no sale. After the sale to the public, any remaining books are given free to local nonprofits and good cause organizations.

Carol Carrano, head of the category volunteers who sort, price and pack the books in boxes, said, "It's amazing how many donated books already have prices in them from previous years. Many book lovers use the sale almost as a lending library, buying and re-donating them after they've finished reading them."

"You'd think that after so many years of conducting the sale, there'd be no room left for improvement, but every year the book sale committee gets together after the sale to de-brief, going over what procedures worked well and what things we could do better," added a committee member.

"Each year we face challenges and this coming year we may face one of our hardest yet," said in-coming branch president Paula Paddick.

For many years, the branch has rented the same storage facility rooms but now they need to move to a new space. AAUW is asking for the community's support in finding a facility – perhaps a warehouse or large garage – where they can both store the books and tables and other items used for the sale but also where volunteers can sort, price and pack the books for each category (e.g., religion, history, biography, nature, cooking, crafts and, of course, mysteries and fiction). Anyone having a space or knowing of someone who has roughly a total of 1,000 square feet in one or more adjacent areas is asked to contact the search committee at either jcarrano@compori, pinkieb@compori, or kristen.alpert

Messages can also be left on the branch's website or on AAUW Brevard's Facebook page.

The iconic yellow boxes go out the first week in February for the major collection push till the sale in late June. Thanks and appreciation go to all of the many establishments that put out these yellow boxes for AAUW to collect book donations:

Bakeries/cafes: Blue Ridge Bakery, Bracken Mountain Bakery, Brighter Day Coffee, Quotations Coffee Café – front entrance.

Banks/credit unions: Asheville Savings Bank, Entegra Bank, First Citizens Bank, and PNC Bank.

Churches: Brevard-Davidson River Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, St. Philips Episcopal Church, St. Timothy's United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalists of Transylvania County.

Educational institutions: Blue Ridge Community College, Brevard College - Adm. Building and Bookstore and Alumni House, Rosman High School.

Health/beauty/fitness establishments: Bliss Salon, Brevard Health and Racquet Club, Brevard Yoga, Curves, Designers Hair Studio, The Fitness Factory, Headlines, Healthy Harvest Natural Foods & Supplements, New Hope Salon, Perfect Balance Physical Therapy, Pisgah Hairitage, Sherwood Forest Golf Course.

Residential communities: College Walk Retirement Community, Connestee Falls Library, Deerlake Village.

Retail establishments: Belk Department Store, Allegra, Highland Books, Lilly T's Clothing Company, Postage Express, UPS Store.

Supermarkets: Bi-Lo, Creekside Market, Food Lion, Food Matters Market, Ingles, and Sav-Mor.

Other locations: Transylvania County Arts Council, and Lake Toxaway Post Office.

Thanks also is extended to attorney Margaret Hunt for allowing AAUW to use her office windows for a display on the book sale and scholarships funded by sale proceeds. Purcell Realty loans a truck for move-in and move-out. Brevard College goes above and beyond allow by providing the Boshamer Gym for the sale.

Thanks also go to The Transylvania Times for providing such critical coverage and to radio station WSQL for helping to advertise the sale as well.

Thanks also goes to the Schenck Job Corps students who did heavy-duty work on move-in day and the many volunteers, friends and family of AAUW members, who got the workout of their lives moving everything in and out of the gym.

Special mention needs to be of the contribution of local churches, most notably the Unitarian Universalists of Transylvania County, St. Philips Episcopal Church and the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, not only for collecting books during the year and providing meeting places but also for providing volunteers to do the heavy lifting involved in setting up and taking down the sale operation.

When opening day arrives, everyone looks forward to seeing all the anticipation on the faces of the people in line. Every year AAUW members hear someone exclaim, "Oh I come every year. I wouldn't miss it for the world."

It's common also to hear, "I've never seen a sale this big and so well-organized. It's amazing!"

It's not unusual to overhear customers saying, "This is the best book sale I've ever gone to."

What so impresses first timers is the organization – not only by category but alphabetized by author within categories or organized by topic within categories. There are tables for history and specifically military history, biography, travel, sports, music, fine arts, languages, religion, cookbooks, health and wellness, hardcover and paperback fiction and mysteries/thrillers, children's books, self-help and psychology, business and finance, gardening, arts and crafts.

A regular at the sale laughed and said, "Don't tell my wife you saw me here again. I've squirreled away enough books to last me till next year's sale," making reference to the white squirrel logo used in book sale advertising.

A lot has been said about e-books but it's clear that many folks have not given up on the "real thing." One woman exclaimed, "You sure can't beat the prices. You can't download an e-book for these kind of prices!"

Another added, "The best sellers and newest releases are priced higher but I just checked Amazon and this book is still priced $10 more than it is here. On top of that, the proceeds go to scholarships. What's not to like?"

"It's always gratifying to see so many children, wide-eyed and expectant, looking for books for themselves. It's heartening that young people love books as much as we all do. Research shows that reading real books to children and having them learn to read on their own has a much greater intellectual impact than having children look at a screen, even when that screen is an e-reader," said Hawkins.

"And so, another book sale has come to an end as the next one starts up. More than a hundred AAUW members in the branch work year round with one goal in mind – raising as much money as we can to fund scholarships for local girls. Spouses, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, friends from church come out to support us, putting in hours of grueling work to set up the sale, run it and then move out," said Hawkins. "I am in awe of the effort everyone gives selflessly and generously. It is an honor to have been the 2017 book sale chair. Now, get back to your reading!"


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