Ryan Carmody knows with a few clicks, he can find any book he needs, order it and have it delivered to his Silver Spring home within a few days.
Still, “a few times each month,” he visits one of the county’s two used bookstores that are operated by the Friends of the Library Montgomery County (FOLMC).
“There is sort of an aspect of surprise for what you are going to find,” he said as he browsed through the books at the used bookstore that opened June 20 in the former Silver Spring library on Colesville Road.
He also frequents the FOLMC’s other used bookstore in the Randolph Hills Shopping Center on Boiling Brook Parkway in Rockville.
The Silver Spring facility, filled with musty books, music, movies and puzzles await perusal.
They had been housed in the basement of the Wheaton Library, which is being renovated and will reopen as a combined library and recreational facility.
“I love old bookstores,” Carmody said.
He said he particularly likes to “see what other people have traded in” to the store.
Camody also said he enjoys checking out what the former owners have written or underlined in the books, especially seeking out any annotations or inscriptions.
“I always buy something,” he said.
Michelle Bowen-Ziecheck busily filled a large box of children’s books she can’t wait to share with her three-year-old daughter.
“We are going to read a lot at naptime,” she said, adding she is now the proud owner of 12 books from the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems.
“I just got 50 books for $30. It was awesome,” she said as she carried the box outside. A hardback picture book costs about $16.95 at a new bookstore, she said.
She said she likes the idea that many of the books in the Silver Spring facility were former library books and therefore have been well vetted, she said.
Collections at the two used bookstores consist of books no longer needed by the Montgomery County Public Library system or those donated by residents.
“They have a large selection,” said Lubo Nikolov of Poolesville. “Some of the books you find here are difficult to find somewhere else,” he said as he went through the books on the shelves marked plays, poetry, fiction and history.
Taylor Tai, who was visiting the county from Swathmore, Penn., also was slowly checking out the various sections. Tai said that when she brings a used book home, she feels like she is giving it a brand new life.
The Silver Spring facility is only temporary. It will be home to the books until the new Wheaton library and recreation center is opened in the summer of 2018.
“It was available, and we had been looking for an interim site,” FOLMC Executive Director Ari Brooks said of the Silver Spring former library.
Money collected at the two bookstores is pumped back into the county library system so that the Friends of the Library is able to fund the summer reading program, cultural celebrations and other programs, she said.
“We are profitable,” Brooks said. “People in this county are readers and book lovers.”
Hours at both the Silver Spring and Rockville locations are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 6 p.m.
Books to be donated can be dropped off whenever the bookstores are open, Brooks said.