Friends of the Oviatt offers book deals

Micah Flores

There is a stash of secret treasure hidden deep within the walls of the first floor of the Oviatt Library. Students seeking knowledge in exchange for a nominal fee may be pleasantly surprised to find the plethora of inexpensive used books sold on the west wing of the library.

It is here at Friends of the Oviatt Used Bookstore where quality books are practically given away. Whether leisure, fiction, special interest or academic, a wide range of paper and hardback books are constantly being circulated in and out of the store. They range in price from 10 cents to $25 for the most expensive (a 1962 copy of William Faulkner’s “The Reivers”). Another vintage and collectible of interest was a copy of “The Muppet Show” children’s book from 1978 for $12. Or, for the truly frugal at heart, there are at least two shelves of free books at the store’s entrance.

For anyone looking to find some more reading material that can be used for academic purposes, this is the place to find it. For $1 or $2 each, some books cover a great deal of topics. There’s sociology, language, history, education and literature. And for those who enjoy pain, there’s also a nice range of biochemistry, cell biology, physics and mathematics.

“This is less than a whole seller,” said Marlene Glen, CSUN alumna and bookstore volunteer.

“It’s a creative way that has evolved to bring in revenue to the library,” she said, referring to the proceeds that are brought in to help buy new materials for the library.

Former CSUN mathematics professor Curtis Paul said he bargain shops Friends of the Oviatt at least once a week.

“I like the quality of the books, especially the ones that are academic in nature,” said Paul, who recently happened to be purchasing three bins of books (about 75 in all) for a total cost of $48.50.

Now a full-time professor at Moorepark Community College, Paul said he and his wife have about 5,000 books for sale – online at Sitting on the top of one of his stacks of books was an “Introduction to Philosophy” textbook, a Fine Young Cannibals CD, (yes, they have some CDs too) and a “Special Theory of Relativity” hardback.

“They have a nice selection of books for a good price. Students should take advantage, and come in here once in a while to see if there is anything new and interesting,” he said.

All of the books here have been donated.

“There’s people out there who have all kinds of books,” said Anna Hull, another volunteer. Hull, who said she graduated with a journalism degree from CSUN in 1978, said large batches of quality books are donated to the library when people move or pass away.

“There’s so many types of books, and it’s nice to see people buy the books they normally couldn’t afford,” she said.

One such book was a Family Environment Studies textbook that was recently being sold for $100 at the Matador Bookstore. It sold here for $1.

While most of the textbooks are too outdated (the newest books are about two years old) to give the Matador Bookstore any real competition, book aficionados can take comfort in knowing they won’t get gouged here.

Ed Logue, Antelope Valley Community College student who had just finished his CSUN tour, just happened to roam into the bookstore.

“I was looking for a place to sit and read,” he said. Instead, he bought a wealth of knowledge for about $6. Logue picked up a set of books titled “The History of Mathematics” and “The History of Astronomy.”

Logue said he prefers the more rare and older academic books. “For students who don’t have much cash, this stuff is available for cheap,” he said.

To get in on the action, visit Friends of the Oviatt. The store is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To donate books, call (818) 677-5573.