By Curt Yeomans
Antonio Barandao raced from cart to cart on the first day of the Clayton County Library System's Scholastic Half-Off Book Sale at the system's headquarters branch.
The Jonesboro youngster went through one book after another. Every time Barandao, 5, found a new book, he ran over to his mother, Anita, and tugged on her pants leg, or her hand, so he could show her what he'd found.
At one point, he showed his mother a book on octopuses. Later, he showed her a book on fire trucks. Eventually, Barandao settled on a cookbook featuring characters owned by the Walt Disney Company.
"He likes to cook, and he likes to try new recipes," his mother said.
Anita Barandao takes Antonio, and his older sister, Cherise, to every half-off book sale at the library. "I think they have something for everybody at this book sale," she said. "There are a lot of things here that appeal to children, but then they have things that would be interesting to mothers, like the cookbooks."
The book sale will continue at 865 Battle Creek Road, in Jonesboro, until June 16. The library system's branch locations are closed on Sunday's during the summer.
Scholastic donates 10 percent of the proceeds from sales to the library system in the form of paperback books that are given away as prizes during the library's annual youth vacation reading program, said Janice Arcuria, the system's assistant director of youth services.
The program encourages children to spend their summer vacations reading at least 18 books, or to spend a minimum of nine hours reading books.
This summer's reading program began May 30. Last year, books were given to 1,969 youths as reading rewards.
Library system officials hold three Scholastic book sales at the headquarters branch each year. In addition to the sale that began Tuesday, another was held in February. The third sale of 2009 will be held in December, Arcuria said.
The overarching reason for doing the book sales and the reading program, however, is to promote reading to Clayton County residents, Arcuria said.
"We want to make it easier for families to increase the size of their home libraries," she said. "The side goal is to gain books for our summer reading program, but the main thing is to get more books in the community.
"I think there is a big use for libraries - don't get me wrong - but I think it's really important for children to have a book of their own, something that they can go back to again and again. " Arcuria added. "When we give a book as a present to someone, we're really saying reading is important. When we don't give books as presents, we're saying something else is important."
With that in mind, Jonesboro resident, Parris Andrews, took his three daughters, Kimaya, Kiyee and Paris, into the book sale when they came by the library on Tuesday.
Andrews, a teacher at Clayton County's alternative school, said he did not know the book sale would be taking place this week, but he wanted to buy some books for his daughters because he believes it is important to encourage them to read.
"The more you read, the more informed you are," he said. "Summertime is the time when you can really improve your reading and comprehension skills. It further encourages education beyond the traditional school year ... I'm just glad I decided to bring them to the library today."
Kimaya Andrews said the importance her father puts on her and her sisters reading in their spare time has taught her that reading "just basically prepares us for the future."
Times for the book sale vary from day to day, depending on what time the headquarters branch closes. According to the library system's June calendar of events, the book sale will take place on:
· Wednesday and Thursday, from 9:30 a.m., to 8:30 p.m.
· Friday, from 9:30 a.m., to 5:30 p.m.
· Saturday, from 9:30 a.m., to 4:30 p.m.
· Monday and next Tuesday, from 9:30 a.m., to 8:30 p.m.
Customers can pay for books using cash, checks, credit cards, debit cards with charge card logos, such as Visa or Master Card, and purchase orders. For more information on the book sale, call Arcuria at (770) 210-5238.
On the net:
Clayton County Library System: http://www.claytonpl.org/