With the past few years seeing the decline of small community bookstores, book-lovers are rapidly running out of places to score obscure and discontinued for their collection.
A temporary respite to this came Sept. 30 in the form of the ‘Friends of the Oviatt Library’ book sale. The sale stocked literature as varied in titles as Maria Shriver’s 2003 autobiography, ‘Ten Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Went Out into the Real World,’ to a first-edition copy of the ‘Harvard Business Review- On Management’ from the 1960s.
‘It’s a good selection, there are other book fairs that are bigger but it’s not necessarily that bigger is better,’ said Coleman Baek, 28, an aerospace engineering major who was balancing a hefty stack of hardbound volumes at the check out.
Baek added that one of the event’s main draws were the low prices, which ranged between 50 to 75 cents for a paperback and a one dollar for a hardbound.
‘I picked up what I can, some hardcovers, some novels,’ said Baek. ‘It’s a good deal.’
Bargain hunters aside, there was yet another breed of book-junkie stalking the aisles.
Veronica Silva, 28, works at the Oviatt Library and volunteered during the sale. She says she finds the idea of old books appealing.
‘You wonder where it’s been and I think you get more valuable information than publications today,’ said Silva. ‘Older books give you theories quicker.’
Whatever the reason, the popularity of the fair was reflected in the increasing number of people milling around the stacks of books on display.
Eventually, many ended up in a line leading to Joe Russo, 81, who was in charge of the cashbox.
A volunteer and friend of the Oviatt Library since 1999, Russo first started affairs with the library by donating all his chemistry books to the library after he retired working as a chemist for Hughes Aircraft.
‘All books that come in to the library come to my area first,’ said Russo. ‘I review them, then I have the librarians review them. Those that they don’t want for the library go on to the book sale.’
‘The money is given to the Dean’s people and back to the library,’ Russo added.
The ‘Friends of the Oviatt Library’ is a non-profit organization composed by several CSUN alumni and other volunteers. They run their own bookstore, which stocks used-books ranging from hardcovers to ‘collectibles,’ according to their website.
The next book sale is planned for Oct. 28.