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story.lead_photo.caption Friends of the Texarkana Public Library bookstore will reopen from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, June 11, at 320 W. Broad St. in downtown Texarkana. Photo by Kelsi Brinkmeyer / Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA, Texas — Friends of the Texarkana Public Library supporters have reason to rejoice with the reopening of the bookstore.

Closed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring, the bookstore will open for the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, June 11, said the group's board president, Shelley Lewis.

The 320 W. Broad St. store will also open the same hours on Friday, June 25, and Saturday, June 26, continuing its regular open days of the second Friday and last Friday and Saturday of the month. Because of concerns about the health and safety of both volunteers and patrons, the bookstore closed in March 2020.

"The board of directors decided not to reopen until all our loyal customers and our excellent volunteers have had a chance to get their vaccination," Lewis said. "That has been done, and so we decided that it is safe to reopen but we just were concerned for the safety of all our customers."

They're excited about reopening and will restart with a grand reopening sale the entire month.

"Our reopening sale will be half price for everything for everybody, and if you're a Friends of the Library member you get a free book which each purchase," Lewis said.

Since its founding in 1981, the not-for-profit Friends of the Texarkana Public Library has supported the library and its programs.

The bookstore sells all sorts of used books with this mission in mind, and loyal customers come from all backgrounds — young and old, including children.

"We get all kinds of readers. We exist solely through donations, and so people come and buy book and they bring books that they read and don't want anymore. We sell them to someone else. That's a pretty good deal, isn't it?" Lewis said.

Those loyal patrons have waited for more than a year to peruse the shelves at the turn-of-the-century building the bookstore calls home.

"People have asked. They ask at the library. The library staff this past year put on a book festival in October out in their parking lot, which was very well attended, and then again in April, which due to the rainy weather we've had had to move into the inside of the library, and it was also very well attended," Lewis said.

Staff are pleased and working hard to clean the store and stock the bookshelves for the reopening, she said. Over the last year, they received many donations that need to be stocked.

"We are looking forward to reopening and welcoming our customers," Lewis said.

There's quite a variety available for book-loving browsers there at the store. You name it, they have it, says the board president. They have many books and want many people to come out and buy them.

"We have a marvelous children's room. We have fiction and non-fiction, mysteries, cookbooks, craft books, a big religion section — we have reference material and things for people that do home schooling. We have books on tape. We sometimes have movies and CDs. We've got all kinds of things," Lewis said. "We've got things on travel, things on history Lots of paperbacks. A western section. We've got poetry and classics."

(For more information, visit the Friends of the Texarkana Public Library page on Facebook.)

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