Between Friends - Blount County Friends of the Library Newsletter - January 2018

Blount County Friends of the Library Newsletter - January 2018

Friends of the Library in the Digital Marketplace

By Robert McClelland

ebay logo

It comes as no surprise to those who know them that Ted Taylor, Gary Carpenter, Meg Halter, Claudia Erwin, Laurie Smalley and Phyllis Williams are frequently found working on something interesting in the basement of the library. They are part of a cadre of eBay booksellers on the Friends of the Library team. The use of eBay to reach a broader clientele for more valuable books has come a long way since it began in 2014. Through their diligence, approximately 1,300 books are offered online by the Friends, and that number will certainly increase since, in today’s digital world, so many people now shop for books online. Claudia is quick to point out that this whole project could not have happened without the generous support of Lisa Misosky, of Southland Books, who showed them what to do and how to do it well.

Claudia and Laurie apply their efforts to the task of sorting through the thousands of books donated to the Friends each month. Experience and their “good eyes” enable them to spot material that looks most promising for sale on eBay. After identifying potential items, they play detective—checking on and comparing what these items are being sold for online. Further research to determine each item’s true value is then carried out by Gary, Ted, and Laurie. Meg makes any necessary book repairs to prepare damaged books for sale.

Laurie points out that you can never tell what is going to be valuable as the age of an item or the author aren’t necessarily good barometers for appraisal. A book autographed by its author does not always mean its resale value is enhanced, while items on offbeat topics often sell well. These volunteers are also on the lookout for material featuring topics of local interest and Appalachian lore.

After a final asking price is set, an item is listed on eBay. Phyllis takes over and interacts with the public, packing sold items, mailing them and tracking them to their new home, wherever in the world that may be.

There is real need for more hands in the eBay corner of the basement. Developing the ability to price books accurately takes some time for new volunteers. In time, however, they will certainly enjoy being part of the process. As Laurie says, “Volunteering down here is like going on a treasure hunt.”

Volunteers wishing to join this enterprise may do so by contacting volunteer coordinator, Dolores Philpot.

Ted Taylor
Claudia Erwin and Gary Carpenter
Phyllis Williams
Meg Halter
Laurie Smalley
borderNote from the President, Denise Robertson

Requests from the President

If interested in helping with the opportunities below, contact Denise Robertson.

Saturday, January 27th

Book sellers are needed to help at the Pop-Up Book Sale on Saturday, January 27th, especially from noon to 2 pm. And the library is in need of 3 volunteers to help with their program that day. Committing to help does not require you to participate all day.

If you can help or can recruit some others, that would be great!


FOL needs someone to manage the inventory and sale of Foothills Voices books. We need to keep the Bookmark Café stocked, respond to retail stores requests for additional copies, create invoices to track our sales to retail establishments, respond to requests from outside interests, sell books at Library events, etc. Track our sales via CreateSpace (Amazon) and assist the Treasurer in reconciling monies collected. All of this has been set up and completed, but we need someone(s) to continue to keep the information up to date. You must be comfortable handling cash and in using the Square.

Denise Robertson, Friends Board President and Basement Book Sale Manager


Ex Libris

2017 – The Year of the Herring

By Barbara Zurl

Make no mistake – I know 2017 is The Year of The Rooster according to the Lunar Calendar. Having said that, searching for poultry in East Tennessee is like… trying to find a glass of sweet tea in the summer. Not exactly a challenge. So what does that have to do with anything?

Since you asked …. it has to do with the recently passed Holidays. Throughout November and December our Team of Presenters visited elderly Blount County residents in retirement and health facilities. Twenty-four programs were given and 225 people attended. Naturally, Thanksgiving and Christmas featured prominently. The contentious issue of mince versus pumpkin pie was discussed at length. Is it stuffing or is it dressing? Then remembrances of exactly what was necessary to make Christmas, Christmas came pouring out. Hands down it was a golden orange waiting at the bottom of a stocking. Better than any red velvet cake or white chocolate “bark” this rare and exotic treat still had the power to summon up memories. Wishing to share, I gave them my tale of how Christmas Eve 2017 was nearly ruined for the lack of a decent jar of pickled herring.

I don’t even need to see your faces as you are reading this. I saw “the look” on the faces of the residents, the Activity Directors, the helpers and even my own Ex Libris Team members ! You need to know that a genuine Polish Wigilia (Christmas Eve dinner) is nothing without herring. It has been my tradition since I was old enough to properly utilize a knife and fork. Immediately, my question was: “Have you ever tried it?” Ninety-nine percent had never done so … but knew it was not for them.

And that got me to thinking – “Wow – that’s just like Ex Libris”. People hear about it and decide sight unseen that it is not for them. How could dealing with old folks possibly be something good, upbeat, pleasant, fun? Honest answer: you’ll never know unless you are willing to expand your horizons and at least take a look. Just like with the silvery sweetness of a herring tidbit, if you don’t like it you can simply put it back on your plate.

Fourteen Ex Libris programs are given each month. Why not make arrangements to come and observe one of our presentations? Contact Dolores Philpot, BCFOL Volunteer Coordinator or Janetta Baker, Ex Libris, Program Coordinator or me, Barbara Zurl, Program Director. You just might decide it’s not as bad as you imagined.

Sardine Jar
NOTE: Christmas miracles do occur. A jar of Skansen, imported from Sweden herring tidbits mysteriously arrived via FedEx. There are some fine elves out there!

3 tiny chocolate bars Blount County Friends of the Library
Pop-Up Book Sale!
Saturday, January 27

10 'til 2 – Library Entry Rotunda
Books with themes of
chocolate, desserts, diet,
children's reads, etc.
to celebrate the
One Book Blitz Special Event:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Theme-Related Activities

cupcake and chocolate bar

Volunteers needed to help with the sale.
Also the Library needs 3 volunteers to help with their program.
Contact Denise Robertson

Thank You!

A Thank You for Friends

Thanks to you, Friends, for bringing Knoxville Opera Company's library presentation of Turandot to the library Jan. 13.

Turanadot: LiuLiu, played by Kristin Vogel, the girl who loves the prince
Turandot: Kalaf
Kalaf, played by Aaron Short, as Turandot's suitor, an unknown prince, who solves the riddles

Photos courtesy of: Blount County Library
Photographer: Joan VanSickle Sloan

BCFOL Officers:
Board President,
Booksale Director:
Denise Robertson
Vice President: Dick Burgess
Treasurer: Marcy DeLozier
Secretary: Robert McClelland

BCFOL Directors at Large:
Jane Bennett, Gary Carpenter, Ann Fairhurst, Meg Halter, Lisa Misosky, Mary Moore
E-Letter, Newsletter Editor:
Jane Bennett

E-Letter, Newsletter Designers:
Linda Ayres, Sherry Crisp

Website, Book Sale Flyer Designer:
Araby Greene