Neighbor Spotlight: Friends keep the library going

Published 7:08 pm Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Daily News’ weekly Neighbors series features one person from LaGrange and the surrounding area. This week we sought out a little literary inspiration from Kathy Morris, a member of the Friends of the Library and library bookshop manager.

LaGrange Daily News: What do the Friends of the Library do?

Morris: Everything is donations and — with the street sign on Vernon Street — people give donations. That sign has paid for itself many times over. We are here every Friday and the first Saturday of every month from 10 to 2 p.m. Twice a year in May and November we have a mega-sale where you fill the bag — big Publix and Kroger and Piggly Wiggly (bags). They donate paper bags, and you fill the bag and (pay) $5 (for all the books inside), and people love that. Three or four times a year we have a mass market paper back sale. We just line up books in the lobby, and they are one cent (a piece). We have 10 cent carts out there, and then every sale we try to feature something that is probably not selling so well on the shelf.

Donations are incredible, like with the mega-sale coming up next month, we’ll have 10 times more children’s books then we’ve ever had before. Good quality too. People fill the bag, and they come back and fill another bag and another bag and another bag. It’s great. We are grateful, very much so for the donations. We take everything, and some of it is better than others. We shelve what is best, and what isn’t the best, we store for the two mega-sales.

A good service to the community is things that we know aren’t going to sell well, either in the bookshop or in the mega-sales, we put them out for free to the public, and we get so many thank yous for that. Because people can check out a book, but they have to return it. Anything out there is for free, and sometimes it is good stuff, but we know it is not going to sell.

LDN: Where does the money from the sales go?

Morris: Everything is donations and every cent goes back to the library for all their programs —the summer reading program, staff training. Are you familiar with My Favorite Things?

LDN: The fundraiser?

Morris: The symphony (fundraiser) that was just held, and we paid for eight of the library’s staff to be able to attend that. The manga and anime (clubs), we pay for those programs. We pay for all of the library’s programs, so anything that we do take in — because people ask, “Where does the money go?” It goes to the library.

LDN: How has the community received the sales so far?

Morris: Wonderful. A lot of people don’t know that it is here, that the library has this service, but they find out about it through word of mouth and again the sign on the street. … We are grateful, and it is fun. I retired four years ago, and I didn’t retire to do anything that I didn’t love, so I do this, and I volunteer at the hospital, and then I’ve got lots of me time because I love to read.

LDN: Are you from the area?

Morris: No, well, I’ve been here 17 years, so I guess it is home. Nebraska, South Dakota, California then here.

LDN: What brought you to LaGrange?

Morris: I met my husband when he was just getting out of the air force in California, and he was from Atlanta, so we moved to Atlanta, so that I could finish school. I finished my Masters. I am retired from the Georgia Department of Corrections.

LDN: How did you become involved with the Friends of the Library?

Morris: I was always here and always came to the sales, and Brenda Thomas, who was the previous Friends (of the Library) board president, she asked me would I be interested in being on the board. They are always looking for new members who love books and love all of this. I said, “Sure.” So, I did, and I’ve been on the board for three years.

LDN: What do you enjoy when you aren’t at the book sales?

Morris: Reading and volunteering at the hospital.

This week, the Friends of the Library will host an author talk featuring Deron Hicks on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the LaGrange Memorial Library.

‘Neighbors’ is a weekly series by the Daily News that highlights community members. To nominate a person to be featured, call 706-884-7311.