July 28, 2014

Elyria
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A lot of stacks to peruse, book lovers

ELYRIA — Somewhere, somebody is looking for a mint copy of “Mystery in Bugtown.”

Come on, who wouldn’t want to know about Inspector Cricket’s investigation into the attempted squashing of Charlie Roach?
Inspector Cricket’s adventure — and more than 65,000 other books, CDs and movies — will be available for just $1 at the juggernaut of Ohio book sales, the fourth annual Ohio’s Largest Public Library Book Sale at St. John Lutheran Church in Elyria.

SHAWN FOUCHER / CHRONICLE
Some of the books that will be available.

The book-a-palooza starts Thursday and runs through Sunday, which is good because it’ll probably take that long just to find the book you want. “Mystery in Bugtown” will be in the children’s section.

Countless volunteers from the Friends of Elyria Public Library and Keystone Public Library helped presort the books by genre, which should give bibliophiles some sense of direction after they get lost among the walls of literature.

Elyria Public Library public relations specialist Debbie Pillivant said the book sale is among the largest in the area, a mammoth undertaking that attracts book collectors from out-of-state, many hoping to stumble on a rare or valuable find.

And the chances of happening on a valuable book at this year’s sale is better than ever, since volunteers scrapped their practice of pulling out books in the $20 to $100 range ahead of time and selling them separately, said Janet Stoffer, Elyria Public Library director.

“We’re not doing that this year,” Stoffer said. “They are all going to be mixed in. We made that decision … to hopefully attract book dealers who are looking for things.”

Of the 65,000 items selling over the four-day event, about 150 were pulled ahead of time because of their value, Stoffer said, adding that those items will be sold on eBay. That means that less than 1 percent of the 65,000 items have been presorted and pulled. 
Since the proceeds from the book sale go toward the Elyria and Keystone libraries’ programming and equipment fund, organizers are hoping to maximize their profit.

Stoffer said the massive collection is certain to contain some exciting finds.

“We do take out a few things that might do well in another market,” Stoffer said. “It would be irresponsible for us, if we see a book that is worth $100 or more, to put it out there.”

About 85 percent of the items were donated to the Elyria and Keystone libraries and Friends of the Library, while the remaining 15 percent are overstock or items that haven’t been checked out in a few years, Pillivant said.

“Some people will buy best sellers, read them, then donate them to the library,” Pillivant said.

Lorain County JVS students will volunteer the next few days to unload the boxes of books at St. John Lutheran Church in time for the book sale’s kickoff. Organizers said book collectors, buyers and others line up well in advance of the first day’s opening, so it may be wise to show up early if you’re in the market for something specific.

Contact Shawn Foucher at 653-6255 or sfoucher@chroniclet.com.