The neatest jacket you ever saw – either new or just like new, with a Nieman Marcus label and a price tag of $4. Where are you? More than likely you’ve wandered into the Kyle Library Thrift Stop at the corner of Front and Lockhart Streets, one block north of the City Hall, just beside the colorful old water tower in downtown Kyle.
But clothes aren’t the only thing you’ll find there. Although you’ll find clothing of every description – from formal gowns, to shoes, to school and working wear for men, women and children – that’s only one section of the store’s treasures. You never know what you’ll find there. The merchandise changes daily, and that’s part of the wonderful fun of wandering though the neat aisles and finding bargains you thought were a part of a long forgotten past.
You might find a set of glasses, a pair of glasses, a teapot, a toaster, a skillet, cooking utensils. You’ll definitely find books, hundreds of them: novels, how-to-do-it books, some of those former best sellers you missed, and children’s books, all priced at 25 to 50 cents. Beyond that are toys (some older, some new), games, furniture, arts and crafts items, framed pictures, electronic parts and pieces, and jewelry.
And who know what else? Sometimes musical instruments turn up on the shelves, or fine serving sets from an aged aunt’s household when she moved in with her daughter, or old maps found while cleaning out an attic. Maybe a set of delicate porcelain figurines with a $9 price tag.
The Library Thrift Shop began in the 1980s when a few women (primarily Blanche Richmond and Ceverene Lackey) opened a used clothing shop in an empty building on Center Street. (That was when Center Street had many empty buildings, unlike today.) Merchandise was displayed on makeshift tables, the women worked for free, and all proceeds (then kept in a cigar box) went to the library, which at that time was funded entirely by donations. Philanthropist Jack Johnson wandered in one day, saw what they were doing, and offered to build a store for them. They were ecstatic, of course, and once the new store opened, it began making money right away. Gradually it grew, donations increased, and employees were hired. In 2015 the building was enlarged and improved by Friends of the Kyle Library (FOKL), a nonprofit group that donates thousands of dollars each year to library programs and maintenance – mostly from the store’s proceeds. Other funds come from memorials given to FOKL in the name of loved ones.
So here’s the short story: You can do a good deed for the library, have some fun, and find terrific bargains if you drop by the Kyle Library Thrift Shop. It’s easy to find, parking is plentiful, and if you have useable articles you no longer want or need, you can drop them off at the shop’s back door. They can’t take bed mattresses. TVs or large kitchen appliances, but almost anything else is welcome. Someone will come out to help you get them inside, and best of all, your donations are tax-deductible.