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Used book sale a real page-turner

by Joe Gamm | March 10, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Julie Smith/News Tribune Despite the day's cool and wet weather, the second day of the Missouri River Regional Library ABLE Book Sale was a very busy day and hundreds of people filed through the Knights of Columbus Hall in St. Martins Thursday looking for good deals on books, cd's, dvd's, puzzles, games and other items that can be found at a library.

"Book people are nice people."

Adult Basic Literacy Education (ABLE) Executive Director Felicia Poettgen made the observation as she took a break from a long morning of working at the annual Used Book Sale, done in partnership with Missouri River Regional Library (MRRL).

"Very happy people come through the doors," she continued.

Which books are popular depends on the crowd coming through on any given day, Poettgen said. For example, she said Thursday's shoppers -- and there were hundreds -- were mostly families with young children. They went for fiction, children's books, educational materials and cookbooks.

Popular books Wednesday night were nonfiction, she said.

"(Wednesday) night, there was a ($5 entry) charge," she added. "There were dealers and more serious buyers because of the charge."

Sales were much higher during the first night of the sale this year, compared to last year, said MRRL Director Claudia Young.

She said sales were way up despite the volume of people waiting at the front door for the sale to open Wednesday being down from last year.

"We had 40 less people than we did last year, but they bought more books. Sales were up $1,600 from last year," Young said. "The parking lot was full, and it was very crowded out there."

The four-day sale continues today (when all items will be offered at half-price) and Saturday, when you can fill a box of books for $5.

Young said the sale will be open a couple hours longer on Saturday than previous years. The sale is held at the St. Martins Knights of Columbus, 537 Missouri Highway T. It continues 9 a.m.-8 p.m. today and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

"It takes a lot of people -- a lot of the service organizations here in town lend a hand," Young said.

A goal is to sell out, Young said. But if that doesn't happen, the remaining products will go to a good cause. She said the sale is partnering with "Better World Books," which sells books online and uses the revenue to establish grants for literacy organizations, like ABLE.

Find more information about Better World Books at

Sales were hopping again Thursday morning, Poettgen said.

"It means a lot to us," she said. "A couple of years ago, we didn't have the sale because of the pandemic. Sales were down last year. But hey, they're back. They are in full force."

  photo  Julie Smith/News Tribune Ezra Oakes, 8, and his mom Michaela look through a home improvement book in which Ezra was interested. He wanted a project book so he and his dad could make things together. Michaela is holding 10-month-old Paxton and at right picking a book is MaryJane Oakes, age 9. All were at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Route T in St. Martins Thursday for the annual Missouri River Regional Library ABLE Book Sale. Hundreds of people filed through the building, persuing the books, games, cd's and more to find that fun purchase. The sale continues Friday from 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  photo  Julie Smith/News Tribune Sydney Parris, left, and Sally Powell look through word puzzle and brain teaser books Thursday at the Missouri River Regional Library ABLE Book Sale Thursday at the Knights of Columbus Hall in St. Martins. They had just arrived and were looking forward to seeing what was all on the tables to purchase. The used book sale continues Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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