Between Friends - Blount County Friends of the Library Newsletter - September 2016

Blount County Friends of the Library Newsletter - September 2016


Meet Friends who are the heart and soul of the new Ebay Book Sale Section: Ted Taylor, Meg Halter, Gary Carpenter, Ramona Claytor-Majied, Phyllis Williams, and Claudia Erwin. Add 3 community service volunteers: a Farragut High School senior and 2 rotating young Mormons.

PhyllisRamona and TedClaudia and Gary

In December 2013 Lisa Misosky, owner of Southland Bookstore, Friends board member and fundraising chairperson and experienced social media marketer with a real heart for helping the Friends help the library as well as helping the library outright herself, encouraged Phyllis Williams and another Friend to begin selling Friends bins’ donated, valuable books on eBay. Today they have sold over 1000 books at an average price of $30, and have such a variety of sales: a poetry book sold for $1,500, to some advance reader copies which sold for $9.95 each. Right now they have priced at $924.99 a Stick and Rudder 5th Anniversary Edition book.

Not demeaning in any way the collectibles sold at the quarterly book sales for 1 Dollar and more, these eBay valuables are culled by the book sorters daily, along with Penny Meyers who handles the book sale collectibles, Claudia Erwin and Phyllis Williams who check constantly.

So, how do they determine the value of each book?
If the book looks promising they give it to Ted Taylor or his new evaluators Gary and Ramona who check:

  • the ISBN number on books after 1980 when that classification began,
  • signatures of authors or famous people,
  • first editions indication,
  • online at several sites such as ABEBOOKS or Bookfinder to see what price others have affixed on the same book and our evaluators find a middle ground for our copy.

The better shape the covers and pages are in the better price the book brings, and Meg Halter is the “fantastic” book repairer as Ted calls her who can smooth creases, clean up bindings, etc.

Ted Taylor, who is the book evaluator organizer, has created a form for listing the value etc. of each book and he changes this form as he finds different or better ways of valuing the book.

Photo of book, Intro. to Genetic Statistics

As we were discussing their amazing online book store, Gary came over and showed us a book he had just found valued at $324.95, Introduction to Genetic Statistics.

This group also has found prints and several Madame Alexander dolls for listing in the Friends book bins located outside the library.

collectible book

To discover value for items such as these they may visit antique stores as well as look on line.

Once value is established, how have all those 1000 books been presented on eBay?

Claudia and Phyllis go to the Friends eBay store site which they set up using IPads. They take pictures of the books to sell and enter them. Then eBay puts them in the general population and notifies the Friends when a book is bought. Claudia or Phyllis send book weight and receive a printed label emailed from eBay, and also get postage automatically put on the labels. The books are carefully wrapped and sent to the buyers. Claudia says it take her about 15 minutes per book to handle mailing permit and wrapping. One can see the wrapping necessities beside the computers dedicated to evaluation. They must be careful to wrap the books against moisture for the various means of transportation across the country.

EBay very professionally handles the payments. Periodically the Friends bank account receives the sale money minus the about 12% charged for eBay’s selling of the book, the postage and clerical work involved.

When down in the sale basement, take a look over in the back corner to see the computers and countless shelves full of these latest eBay book sale editions and the wrappings. People may say that E-readers are the thing of this world today, but plenty of people not only read printed books today, as indicated by our very successful quarterly book sales, but they continue to value books and will pay a lot of money to possess them.

Book Jacket

Mr. Owita's Guide to Gardening

A book about living written by Carol Wall

USA Today
"One of 10 books we loved reading in 2014!"
"One of the best books of the year!"

"Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart," is the first-person, nonfiction story about Carol Wall's unlikely friendship with Giles Owita, a Kenyan-born landscape designer who took on the arduous task of rehabilitating Wall's neglected yard in Roanoke, Virginia. More importantly, though, he tended to Wall's wounded spirit. Diagnosed with cancer before she met Owita, Wall had begun to lose faith in her religion, humanity and herself. The book follows their blossoming friendship; their unusual relationship creating a bond that bridged their disparate backgrounds and taught them both about the wonderful secrets life has in store.

Wall's debut book, "Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening" was published March 4, 2014 to critical acclaim, named one of the top ten books of 2014 by USA Today and one of the best books of 2014 by AARP.

Carol Wall and Charles Owita
Carol Wall & Charles Owita
"In this profoundly moving memoir, Owita teaches Wall how to find grace amid heartbreak and to accept that beauty exists because it is fleeting—as in her garden, as in life."
4 stars, People
"You will put Wall's memoir down with a new appreciation for how far roots can travel for nourishment, especially those that spring from our hearts."
NYT Book Review

Wall received her third cancer diagnosis in 2012, just a few months before "Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening" was published by Amy Einhorn Books. Wall was too sick to make appearances, and she passed away in December 2014, just nine months after publication.

Dick Wall

Dick Wall at The VA Festival of the Book 2015

Since Carol's death, the Wall family, led by her husband Dick, has redoubled their efforts to promote Carol's work. Son Chad Wall, 37, and daughter-in-law, Ashley, have spoken to book clubs and done media interviews in their mother's stead. Daughter Jennie Gelfland, 34, manages her mother's website and social media accounts from her home in York, Pennsylvania. Youngest son Phil Wall, 31, a filmmaker in Philadelphia, made his mother's promotional videos. Dick has traveled the east coast speaking at festivals and events.

Carol and Dick Wall
Carol and Dick Wall

The Wall children say that promoting their mother's book also helps with their grieving and has pulled them closer together, even as distance separates them. Carol Wall may be gone, but her legacy lives on in her work and in her family.

"It's not hard to talk about her," Dick said, "I like to talk about her. I have to talk about her."


Book Advocate - Contact for Dick Wall
Kathie Bennett
Magic Time Literary Agency

Contact for Paperback
Danielle Dill
Publicity Manager
Berkley & NAL, Penguin Random House
375 Hudson Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10014

Literary Agent
Marly Rusoff
Marly Rusoff & Associates, Inc.
PO Box 524
Bronxville, NY 10708

Contact for Hardcover
Katie McKee
Publicity Manager
Amy Einhorn Books



Dick Wall will be doing a book review of his wife's book at the library on Monday, September 19 at 7 pm.

The book will be available for purchase and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the BCFriends of the Library.


By Denise Robertson, President


The Blount County Library is a member of the Ocoee River Regional Library System. As such, the Friends have extended an invitation to any public library in our region to come shop our book sale collection at their convenience. It offers small libraries with small budgets a way to stretch their monies and we sell more books! Recently, two library directors accepted our offer. That same day, a long term member of the Friends came and bought some children’s and juvenile books to send to her granddaughter in Louisiana. Her granddaughter’s sorority has taken on a service project to help a flooded elementary school get back on its feet and as a regular book sale attendee, she knew exactly where to come to find some good, used books for the children. There’s also been interest in dictionaries – of which we always have plenty. We didn’t make a lot of money this time, but as word spreads I’m sure we will hear from more libraries. Helping other libraries in this way is what I call a win-win!

Come join us!

Beginning Sept.14th at 9:30am, Lisa Misosky of Southland Books will offer a brief training session in the basement on how to spot books that are worth more than a few dollars. There will also be time for a round table discussion of book sale processes and how they can be improved and other relevant topics. These sessions will continue as long as there is interest.


This is just a reminder that we still want your donated books. Please give your books the "sniff" test before donating them to us because if you can smell it, we can't sell it! If it turns out your books do smell of mold or smoke, there are recycling dumpsters at the back of the Library parking lot where you can dispose of your past treasures. Thanks for thinking of us!

The Few, The Proud, The Jailbirds!

Wanted - more volunteers who have the nerve, the time, and the willingness to be a “jailbird”
Time involved – two hours a month on a particular and pre-scheduled week of the month.
Visit the jail, with a partner, sort any incoming books, discard “tired” books; fill book carts at the jail library.
Ensure that male and female inmates at our county jail have a good mix of fiction, non-fiction, religious and self-help books available to them.
If you can’t commit to a particular week, alternates are needed as well.
Contact: Dolores Philpot at or
Kellie Frazier (Outreach Coordinator)

Knoxville Opera 2016-17 Preview at Blount County Library

!Thank you BC Friends of the Library for sponsoring this performance!

Hot Summer Nights Finale

Walking into Blount County Library at any given time may have many different sounds and views of types and ages of people: chairs bumping, computers dinging, delicious coffee smells, lines of people going into various meeting rooms, but a glorious soprano voice singing from the opera La Bohème is in no way the expected sound.

I do not know about you, dear readers, but your editor can sing three notes, A, B, and Middle C and not really that well, but is really appreciative of people who can sing more notes and better. Thursday night, September 1, was one of those delightful times when three people brought to our library community the most beautiful classical music imaginable.

As a preview of the 2016-2017 Knoxville Opera season, Linda Barnett and Peter Johnson sang some of the operatic pieces from the full operas they will be bringing to the Tennessee Theatre during the upcoming season: Pirates of Penzance, October 21 and 23; La Bohème, February 10 and 12; Mary Queen of Scots, April 28 and 30.

Linda Barnett and audience Peter Johnson and audience

On January 14 Blount County Library patrons will hear the mini opera version of La Bohème with full costumes.

Maestro Brian Salesky provided the piano accompaniment, commentaries, announcements, and question and answer session afterward.

Among the Questions asked were—

Do certain types of singers, ie. tenors, sing certain types of roles?

  • Yes, tenors tend to sing romantic leads, and usually have beards
  • Sopranos tend to be the femme fatales
  • Men and women with Voices in the lower ranges tend to be the villains.These roles are not always assigned to those with specific types of voices however.

Are all operas sung in native languages?

  • Often, and in opera theatres the language of the country in which the opera is being sung is often posted above the stage. Pirates of Penzance will be performed in English in Knoxville.

You as Friends of the Library, with your dues, diligent work for the library and book sales, and donations are responsible for enriching our library with events such as this.

Banner: Sponsored by the Blount County Friends of the Library

Coffee cup drawing

Volunteer Appreciation Brunch

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

When: 10:30 – 12:30
Where: Dorothy Herron Room A, Blount County Library
What: Drinks and snacks
Please RSVP to Mary Elmore at 982-0981 by Tues. September 27, so we can prepare properly

BCFOL Officers:
President: Denise Robertson
Vice President: Vacant
Treasurer: Betty Jo Fowler
Secretary: Bob Myers

Newsletter Editor: Jane Bennett
Feature Writer: Carla Leone
Newsletter Designer: Lynn McKean
Members at Large:
Jane Bennett, Dick Burgess, Marcy Delozier, Claudia Erwin,
Kellie Frazier, Lisa Misosky, Mary Moore, Dolores Philpot

Social Media Directors: Claudia Erwin, Sara French
Social Media Consultant: Bob Myers