The Chapel Hill Public Library held a four-day book sale this past weekend in memory of 86-year-old Martha Brunstein, who died on Dec. 26.
Brunstein had a special love for books and reading and has been named a Community Treasure by the Chapel Hill Historical Society.
From 2009 to 2018, she was the president of the Friends of Chapel Hill Public Library, an organization that helps to support and raise money for the library.
“Martha was truly a force of nature,” Susan Brown, the director of Chapel Hill Public Library, said. “She was really passionate about Chapel Hill, and she was really passionate about the library.”
Brunstein founded the Friends Book Store, located on the library’s lower level.
She managed the bookstore starting in 2013 until it moved online in 2019 because of the pandemic, Brown said. The online operation now makes around $50,000 to $60,000 a year for the library, Brown said.
“She advocated for that to happen, she got people on board with the idea and she made it a reality,” Brown said.
Before Brunstein became president, Friends of Chapel Hill Public Library raised an average of $30,000 a year for the public library. By 2018, the Friends' annual gift to the library was $135,000.
“What she loved just about more than anything was making money for the library,” Brown said. “I think she would find it very fitting that we had a sale.”