The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Friends tell of treasure trove of cheap books in ‘hidden’ wing of library

A frail voice with, bright blue eyes says students can “pick and choose” information that they may not be aware exists on campus.

Though they may not find a treasure trove of gold and ancient artifacts left behind in a secret room by the Founding Fathers, students may be able to buy a book about their revolutionary exploits at a bargain.

Penelope Freedman likes to be referred to as “Penny,” and she has been a Friend of the Oviatt Library for four years.

Friends of the Oviatt Library are volunteers for the non-profit organization, and they are dedicated to providing and enhancing the community to the lost, isolated love for books. It is their nominal fee that provides more books to check out, funds annual exhibits, and other commodities of which staff and students rarely take advantage.

There are books for purchase at 75 percent or more off wholesale prices.

The Friends Bookstore is located on the first floor of the west wing, and it is open five days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Books are donated to its collection every year, and many are kept in the basement that have not seen the light of day in a while.

“You have to have a love for books when you work here,” Freedman says while looking around the dimly lit wing.

The wing was built into the library several years ago to provide extra income while at the same time helping to find old books new homes.

On Feb. 26, 1999, the Friends Board of Directors voted to conduct smaller book sales more often so as to grant students, faculty, staff, and the community better access to bargains, a newsletter by Hai-Ling Tang, who provides Web services for the library, shows.

Past president and current co-chair of the bookstore, Fred Levy, “wanted to do something with his time,” so he decided to go to CSUN as an assistant professor. But he was “let go” due to budgetary constraints.

He volunteered for the library circa 1999-2000. A couple of years ago, Levy resigned his position as president and is now a member of the board.

At 81, Levy enjoys interacting with students, though he said not many come because the Friends Bookstore is “hidden.”

“Staff, facility, and students do come by but I would just like to see more students,” Levy said.

With his background as a physicist engineer, he has a personal collection of books of fiction and philosophy, but he enjoys non-fiction the most. The benefit of being retired, yet involved with the library, leaves Levy the focus in life he enjoys as well as meeting all kinds of people.

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