By Erika Webb
Proceeds from those monthly book sales at the DeLand Library sure add up. Construction on a new bookstore there will begin this month -- a project that's been three years in the planning, fully funded by the Friends of the DeLand Library.
Friends president Louise Caccamise said it's a dream come true -- literally.
"I woke up in the middle of the night one night and it was like it was already built. I dreamed it."
Ms. Caccamise said there is a spot off the library's children's room that is "like a backwards L" where the bookstore will be built. There will be an outside entrance from the Howry Avenue side of the library in addition to one from the auditorium on the inside.
"All we have to do is fill in and make it square," she said. "Two walls are already there. We'll create an outside entrance and extend the sidewalk. The brick won't even look any different."
She said the whole project should be completed in 90 working days from groundbreaking. Shoemaker Construction in Sanford was the lowest bidder on the 720-square-foot addition.
"The county oversaw the bidding. We just provided the money," Ms. Caccamise said.
Volusia County did not have funds available for the $256,000 project so it was up to the Friends to make it happen, she added.
The organization sponsors programs to enhance the community's cultural awareness and to focus attention on the library, including author lectures and book signings, book discussions, exhibitions and special programming for adult and young readers. There are 240 members.
Money for the library is raised through memberships, donations, legacy funds and book sales.
"We have been giving over $30,000 a year to the library," Ms. Caccamise said. "We'll earn $2,000 to $3,000 on weekends when we have our (book) sale."
She said books for the sales come from estates, from people cleaning out their houses or moving away and from the library itself, as it weeds out the collection.
"We buy multiple copies of bestsellers, and a lot of times people will buy those (from us) new and bring them back for us to sell," she said. "They read and return."
Ms. Caccamise said, with the exception of "very special" books, nothing at the sales costs more than $1.
She said the world of books, like everything else, has changed. With the advent of electronic devices such as the Nook and Kindle, computers and Smart phones, it's hard to say whether future generations will appreciate what so many book lovers enjoy, turning the pages.
Mrs. Caccamise said one of the main goals of Friends is simply to "get books into people's hands."
She recalled one of her group's first major accomplishments.
"We gave a set of World Book Encyclopedias to the library," she said. "It was a momentous gift at the time. It was like front page (news). That's how times have changed."
Mrs. Caccamise was a librarian for 30 years. She joined FOL 50 years ago when the group first formed. She's been president of the DeLand organization three different times.
"When we traveled we always visited libraries in many different towns. They have always had a prominent place in my life," she said.
Her book, Echoes of Yesterday: A History of the Deland Area Public Library 1912-1995, contains pictures of the DeLand Library in its various locations from the time it opened in 1912 to now. Those pictures and locations also are available at dfotl.org/index.htm.