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Short Shelf Life

The bargains don't stay around very long at Friends of Library book sales.


Here is a tip for bargain-hunting book lovers--shop at a Friends of the Library book sale or bookstore. It's a chance to feed your literary addiction for pennies while helping out your local library.

In Ventura, there is a sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of the H.P. Wright Library at 57 Day Road.

And if you just can't wait, visit the used-book store inside the E.P. Foster Library at 651 E. Main St. in downtown Ventura. Store hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

It's impossible to stop in for a casual browse without buying something--11 books in our case, six of them hardcover, at a total cost of $12.50. Pat Conroy's "Beach Music," in mint condition, was a steal at $2.

Beyond the bargains, your purchases help libraries finance community programs like adult literacy and homework centers with Internet capability. An added perk--you just might pick up a first edition of Ernest Hemingway's last novel. The Hemingway find turned up recently and was quickly sold to the owner of a local used-book store, according to Will Thompson, president of Friends of the Library in Ventura.

"He paid quite a bit more than we would normally sell it for, but then he could sell it for a lot more," Thompson said.

Other finds have included books with Cecil B. DeMille's personal bookplate, donated by a relative. Evidently, the rich and famous get the urge to clear their shelves, just like the rest of us. Even schools get involved--De Anza Middle School recently donated 10 boxes of well-read, mostly fiction books.

Still, the basic goal of the Friends of the Library is to raise money for libraries, not just to move mass quantities of books or to give people good prices, Thompson said. He pointed out that the 600-plus Ventura members raised more than $60,000 in the past year through dues, book sales, contributions and memorials.

Two dozen hard-core workers put in extra effort every Friday morning at an El Rio warehouse, sorting, pricing and shelving the week's donations.


If you have books to spare, donation boxes can be found at all three libraries in Ventura. For more information, call 641-4414 or visit the Web site at

At the other end of the county, Carol Wisniewski Knowles leads the Thousand Oaks Friends of the Library, whose next used-book sale is July 22 at the Newbury Park branch at 2331 Borchard Road.

Knowles said it takes at least 75 volunteers just to support the three sales held each year. The November event sold more than 6,000 books, netting $4,200 to support funding for summer reading programs, library internships and big-ticket items such as a portable stage, lectern, podium with sound systems and audio-visual equipment.

In addition, the Grant R. Brimhall Library at 1401 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks and the Newbury Park branch have designated shelves of used books available for sale. Prices are set at $1 for most hardcovers, 50 cents for paperbacks and 35 cents for children's books.

The Newbury Park branch also has special bookshelves where volunteer Ed Hamilton prices certain books higher--from $2 to $15.

"If a first edition from a collectible author still has the original dust jacket in good condition, it will be worth much more," Hamilton said.

"To a true book collector, the dust jacket is as valuable as the book in many cases." Children's books are the most sought after, especially ones in good condition with a good illustrator, he said.

Typical of all the volunteers who share a love of books, Hamilton admitted to owning more than he will read in a lifetime--his garage is lined with bulging bookshelves.

For more information, check out with links to Friends of the Library at or e-mail at

In other book news, the Friends of the Ray D. Prueter Library in Port Hueneme will participate in the city's beach party Aug. 19 and 20 with a booth where authors will sign and sell their books, with some of the proceeds going to the friends.

For more information, contact president Adele Rosenbluth by fax at 985-7772 or e-mail her at


* Sunday: 6 p.m. Poetry Night. Open discussion, followed by a featured poet at 7 p.m. and open mike at 8 p.m. Borders, 125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, 497-8159.

* Monday: 11 a.m. Stories and art for Memorial Day about flag-waving and barbecue picnics. Borders, 497-8159.

* Wednesday: 9:30 a.m. Storytime about all the moods you can be in. Ventura Barnes & Noble, 4360 E. Main St., 339-9170.

* Thursday: noon. Mystery author Randy Wayne White will discuss and sign "Ten Thousand Islands." At 6 p.m., mystery author Aaron Elkins will discuss and sign "Skeleton Dance." Both at Mysteries to Die For, 2940 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, 374-0084.

* Friday: 1 p.m. Roseanne Savo leads a discussion on Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way." Borders, 497-8159. A group starting Friday will use "How to Think Like DaVinci" as a core book.

* Friday: 5-8 p.m. Gull Wings Children's Museum of Oxnard will bring its hands-on exhibit. Ventura Barnes & Noble, 339-9170.

* Saturday: 10 a.m. Taffy Cannon will discuss and sign "Guns and Roses." At noon, Bill Fitzhugh will discuss and sign "Cross Dressing." Mysteries to Die For, 374-0084.

* Saturday: 10:30 a.m. Storytime about some bright, twinkling stars who seem very, very human. Thousand Oaks Barnes & Noble, 160 S. Westlake Blvd., 446-2820.

* Saturday: 3 and 8 p.m. Third annual cowboy poetry and western music event at Conejo Players Theater, 351 S. Moorpark Road., Thousand Oaks. Call 495-3715 for reservations and full schedule of day's events, including barbecue.


Information about book signings, writers groups and publishing events can be emailed to or faxed to 647-5649.

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