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Beline Obeid
Donate unwanted, gently used handbags to the Grosse Pointe Library prior to the Books, Bags and Bagels sale March 29, at the Woods branch. photo by Ann L. Fouty.

February 20, 2014
There is a tote big enough to hold a couple chick lit books, a few romantic DVDs, a Barry White CD, a library card, phone, wallet and car keys for sale. Also up for sale is a vintage beaded handbag with just enough room for a tube of lipstick and a cell phone.

These are but two examples of purses available among dozens and dozens to be found at the Friends of Grosse Pointe Library's first ever Books, Bags and Bagels event set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at the Woods branch.

To make the event a success, gently used handbags, purses, totes, wallets, coin purses and cell phone covers are being sought for donation through March 22. Donations can be dropped off at any of the three Grosse Pointe library locations during normal business hours.

Like the Halloween costume sale that receives donated costumes to sell for $5 each, the Books, Bags and Bagels relies on donations from the community.

"Just donate gently used handbags," said Lynne Severini, the library's coordinator of circulation. "There may be a silent auction if we get good bags —" if a special item, such as a Prada, is dropped off.

If not, Severini said, she has a stack of purses in her Woods office, along with wallets and coin purses, enough to last at least an hour, if not longer. Purses will be sold from between $5 and $30, while the price of $1 is placed on the smaller items — wallets, coin purses and cell phone cases.

Word of the collection is going gang busters because Severini said she had to replenish the paper fliers announcing the event three times Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Woods branch.

The collection began earlier this month with a donation of 50 handbags.

"A Friend's member's aunt was moving from Michigan and I got 50 right off the bat," she said.

Among the mix, Severini has collected vintage Coach, Brighton, Lucky, Vera Bradley, Kate Spade and Kathy Van Zeeland, Lily Pulitzer summer purses, along with boiled wool purses.

Not only can shoppers pick up a purse, but "chick lit" books will be available, as well, during the event planned by Severini and Friends members Joanne Dennis and Kathy Gaughan.

With a cup of coffee and a bagel, donated by the Detroit Institute of Bagels in Corktown, women can peruse a selection of books, specifically aimed at women, by such authors as Nancy Martin, the author of the Blackbird sisters and Roxy Abruzzo mysteries; Jan Karon, who has written the Mitford years series and the Father Tim novels; and Karin Gillespie, who penned "Dollar Daze," "A Dollar Short" and "Bet Your Bottom Dollar."

While raising money to benefit the library, Books, Bags and Bagels is intended to encourage a new set of women to join the Friends of the Library.

"The Friends are cultivating the younger set, newer members who can donate time to the Friends," she said. "This might attract some attention from a younger set of women (who would) volunteer time in the bookstore for a couple hours at a time."

Depending on the success of the newest Friends fundraiser, Books, Bags and Bagels could become either an annual or biannual event, Severini said.

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