Ashville Library’s Annual Book Sale Ready To Go

The Ashville Library’s annual book preview sale begins today, with the sale open to the general public Friday.

ASHVILLE — Sometimes you have to sell books to buy books, and that is exactly what Tabetha Butler, Ashville Library director, her staff and her husband Donald, library board president, will be doing starting today with the library’s annual book sale.

“The book sale has been going on for more years than I can remember,” Mrs. Butler said. “I have been here for 20 years and we have had one every year. I know it has been every year since we moved to Ashville in 1987, but it has been the main fund raiser for many more years than that.”

When Mrs. Butler left the role of volunteer to over as the library’s director in 1998, she made it a priority to clean up the book sale. Since taking over the position, the event has become more organized by categories and signs, as opposed to the previous method of scattered boxes of books. But perhaps one of the most popular changes has come recently with the library’s Books and Bottles preview sale Thursday. A $5 admission gives the guests complimentary wine or lemonade, appetizers and the opportunity to purchase books before the rest of the public.

“We started this event three years ago and it has grown every year,” Mrs. Butler said. “It’s an adult-only event; no children or booksellers allowed. Guests will be given a ticket to win the opportunity to fill the top of my book cart with anything they can fit on it for free. It is a fun time for everyone involved.”

Donald Butler and members of the library board are at the ready before, during and after the book sale, assisting with set-up, working the event through the weekend and clean up. However, Donald Butler was not hesitant to say it is Mrs. Butler who truly is the brains behind the operation.

“She is clearly the one who orchestrates the event,” Butler said. “The board is the financial steward of the funds. The director runs the ship and she does it well. I know I can speak for the entire board, that we have 100 percent confidence in her abilities and have created and environment of empowerment for her to do her job her way.”

One of Mrs. Butler’s focuses in recent years has been to utilize the book sale to not only add to the library’s collection but to also help to support learning activities for the Early Literacy Family Space. Following a push from the state of New York for libraries to include early literacy programs, Mrs. Butler set out to create an environment where children can explore their imaginations and familiarize themselves with the library itself. The project was jump started through a grant by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, however its continued progress and expansion is funded by the annual book sale.

“Children and their families now come to the library to play,” Mrs. Butler said. “Many of our activities provide learning disguised as play. There are puppets and a puppet theatre as well as a store, puzzles and flannel board activities. Kids now come in and just use their imaginations and have fun.”

In addition to the help from the board, the Ashville library has volunteers from the Cummins Inc. Jamestown Engine Plant assist with the heavy lifting, set up and various other tasks to ensure the event run smoothly from start to finish.

Following the Books and Bottles Preview Sale at 6:30 p.m. today, the sale to the general public will begin Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and continue through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.