In our own Backyard

Story last updated at 1:22 PM on Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Good deals on book, plants at Homer Public Library

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer


Photo by McKibben Jackinsky

You never knokw what treasures you'll find at the Friends of the Homer Public Library book and plant sale. Here, Erin Hollowell, coordinator of the upcoming event, browses through a seven-inch thick Webster's International Dictionary, 2nd edition, unabridged.

Looking for reading material to last the upcoming winter? Want to add a touch of green to your indoors while fall storms rage outdoors? Want to clean off the bookshelves and pass on some plant starts? Consider the Homer Public Library Book and Plant Sale, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 29.

If you sign up as a member of Friends of the Homer Public Library, the not-for-profit organization sponsoring the event, you get a one-day jump on the sale with a members-only opening from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 28.

The sale has been happening every fall and spring for so long it's become "kind of an institution," said library director Ann Dixon. No sooner is one sale over than book donations begin rolling in for the next one. A room filled with the donations is where Erin Hollowell, coordinator of the event, and a crew of FHPL volunteers sort the books and store them in boxes until the sale. There are kids books and cookbooks; fiction, nonfiction and science fiction. You name it, you'll find it.


"The ones that are kind of rare sit by my desk and get put on a special table. We have all sorts of stuff that gets donated, from college textbook-type stuff to paperbacks," said Hollowell.

Andy Haas, FHPL president, was excited last year to discover the complete 15-volume series of Lucky Jack Aubrey by Patrick O'Brian. Those unfamiliar with the series may recognize the name as the character played by Russell Crowe in the 2003 film "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World."

"I'd already read them, but I insisted a friend buy them for her husband," said Haas.

Some people buy books, read them and donate them back to the library. Haas is one of those individuals.

"Every year I walk out into the parking lot with books stacked up to my chin," said Haas of the typical 15-book assortment he buys for $5. "I read the books through the winter, turn them in and then see friends buy them the next season."

For the library, the twice-a-year sales are an opportunity to share with the public materials librarians remove from the shelves.

"We pull out materials that are old or not read anymore or are falling apart or aren't accurate or have old information," said Dixon. "We're always weeding those items out and putting newer, updated materials on the shelves and replacing books that are falling apart."

The money raised during the sale goes directly to FHPL to benefit the library.

"They pay for classes, help pay for the summer reading program, visiting authors and refreshments at events, propane that is turned on in the fireplace in the winter. Last year they bought some special shelving for DVDs. They pay for things not in the normal budget," said Dixon.

A calendar of events posted on the library's website lists the many things FHPL helps support, such as a knitting circle, a genealogy group, drop-in tech help, e-mail basics, getting started with e-readers and an upcoming discussion on civil discourse to name a few.

How the combination of books and plants got started, no one seems to know, but FHPL member Lin Hampson is glad it did. While helping with a past sale, Hampson spotted the one remaining plant.

"It was sort of gray looking, a flabby hanging plant. It was horrible," recalled Hampson, who felt sorry for the plant and took it home. "One day it just took off blooming. First one blossom and then another and then another."

She has since discovered the plant is a Mexican orchid cactus and "when it blooms, it's unbelievable."

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at

Homer Public Library Fall Book and Plant Sale

Location: 500 Hazel Ave.

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 29; Friends of Homer Public Library members-only sale, 6-8 p.m. Sept. 28.

donations accepted:

Books through Sept. 27; plants accepted Sept. 27-28.

friends of the homer public library:;; 435-3195.

FHPL board of directors:

• Andy Haas, president; n Royce Page, vice president; n Marylou Burton, treasurer; n Sue Mauger; n Sean Campbell; n Ann Dixon; n Cleo Webb; n Frank Vondersaar.