On Oct. 18, the Macon Friends of the Library opened a physical bookstore on 5494 Forsyth Rd. The Friends of the Library is a collection of organizations that started around 50 years ago. The organizations serve in different communities, but all have the same, universal purpose. The organizations, according to Mercer student Ally Brooks ‘23, aren’t libraries so much as they are lifelines for libraries across the globe.
“'Friends of the Libraries' are non-profit organizations across the world that help with library management and keeping libraries alive," Brooks said.
Having a physical store will enable the organization to sell books for longer than their usual spring and fall sales. In years past, the Friends of the Library in Macon hosted a semi-annual book sale in a warehouse off of Riverside Drive, but now the store will allow shoppers to purchase books throughout the year.
Much of the proceeds from the sale and store go towards supporting libraries, including those like Washington Memorial Library on College Street.
The grand opening had a steady stream of people, with some wishing the volunteers luck with their new venture.
The quaint store is broken up into a few different sections. The first as you enter is for children’s books, followed by fiction. The fiction selection was very well-stocked with many shelves of various authors.
Further into the store, there is a section for non-fiction that offers many selections from theological texts to political commentary. There is also a room dedicated to “rare and antique” books. Those are generally more expensive than the newer books in other sections, with prices reaching up to $40 for a few texts. Lastly, there is a section meant for housekeeping and gardening books.
The hours for the store are perfect for students to visit: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesday and Friday from 2 to 6 p.m.
The store is run entirely by volunteers, said Wendy Cassidy, former president and current board member of the Friends of the Library. They are always on the lookout for people willing to earn a few hours either at the store or during the sale in March.
Brooks, who is one of three work-study student workers for the bookstore, said that she is tasked with advertising the store through various mediums, as well as customer service such as sales.
Specifically, the store is hoping for volunteers to “come in and wait on customers or help us sort through the books that come in the donations,” said Cassidy.
The condition of all books being sold was of very light use. Hardcovers had their sleeves and paperbacks had no major damage.
For those looking forward to the spring sale, it will be held in March inside the Howard Community Center. However, the store itself offers similarly low-priced books as the sale, with paperbacks costing $2 and hardcovers being $4.
According to Cassidy, in about a year, there will be another branch of the Middle Georgia Regional Library system opening on the same property as the store. That branch will be further away from the Washington Memorial Library, but it will be close to the store in case one is looking to purchase a book outright at the time.