Unsung Heroes

By Christine Volker

We are very grateful for the efforts of our book sorter volunteers. Without them we couldn’t raise roughly $3,000 annually through our book sales. That’s a lot of books priced at $1.00 or $.50 or less! (On “Grab a Bag” day, the first Wednesday of the month, the price is $3 for 10 books.) Funds from these book sales are transformed into free library programs that help our entire community.

I recently sat down with our book sorting volunteers including Lucy Carlund, who in addition to heading this function for the Friends, also is our Co-Treasurer.

Please tell our readers how the process starts.

With book donations to the Friends from the community. Book donors bring books into the Main Library (just inside the door) or the two smaller branches (which can take books, but in lesser quantities). When books are dropped off, donors can request a form from the reference librarians for their taxes.
In the main library, we volunteers get to work on the donated materials, first determining that those are not torn, not moldy, overall in good shape and otherwise meet the criteria (listed below). We also check to see if librarians wish to add any to the library collections.

What are the key categories of books that you receive?

Romance, mystery, science fiction, childrens, non-fiction, other fiction, periodicals are some of the key categories. Generally music and DVDs aren’t donated, but in the recent past we’ve received them and have put them out for sale on Grab a Bag Day – they’re snapped up fast. Oh, and we’d love more non-fiction books.

You’ve been sorting books for eight years. Why do you do it?

We love our volunteer book sorters!
Our Fearless Book Sorters: Lucy Carlund, Marian and Henry Navarro and Judith Jenkins

For the love of books and the good that they can do in the community. You can’t take away someone’s ability to read and explore the world from their armchair.

What skill set does a book sorter volunteer need the most?

A strong back! Also an ability to lift and stoop, organize and concentrate.

Are you looking for more book sorters on Wednesday mornings, the time when you and the other sorters work?

Yes! Right now the space where we sort is pretty limiting. But we’d love to have some substitute volunteers, people who could come in if someone gets sick or goes on vacation. I’m looking at establishing another team on another day to help. Stay tuned.

How many books can fit in the nook area of the Main Library, where the largest selection of Friends’ material is sold?

We have a modest-sized, fixed space in the library. Very roughly we can place 1,500 books in it. We need to continue to sell the books, turning over the inventory, or at some point we can’t squeeze in any more.

What happens then, when you reach capacity?

We track the donated books, numbering them by month and then we take inventories a few times a year. For those books that have been ignored on the shelves the longest, we’ll purge them and send them to a local book exchange.

How can we motivate people to purchase more of our donated books?

Better signage. Right now it’s a temporary sign for our corner in the Main Library. Also, some people don’t know that we have a cart of books for sale at West Side and Bayview Branches.

Book Sale at the Main Branch
Our Main Library Book Sale Nook

Why should people donate?

Just know that you are passing your book on to someone else who will value it. You’re sharing your love of reading. Plus, you get a tax deduction. If people have mobility problems we may be able to come by and pick up their book donations. By selling these books we fund library programs.

What’s on your wish list?

A better staging area with new shelving. We really need large shelves that are two boxes deep. Also, an attractive, eye-catching sign. Lots of people come into the library and don’t even see this nook.

What would you say to the readers of this Newslettter?

Explore everything that the library has to offer – it’s a lot! Yes, as Martha Bielawski, our President, says, the library is the biggest bargain in town.

We want to take this opportunity to recognize Thomas Baynes, the West Side Branch volunteer, for handling donated books, stocking the book cart and providing new signage for it. Thank you! 

And thanks to all our book donors. Please keep your books coming. If you haven’t donated before, please do!

Donations of Books and Materials

We gladly accept these materials in good condition, at all three libraries: 

  • All Media, including videos, DVDs and CDs
  • All non-fiction and fiction, hardcover and softcover books for adults, teens and children
  • Recent reference books/manuals
  • Recent, monthly magazines/periodicals (e.g., National Geographic, Bon Appetit, etc.)

In the Main Library, we accept books on Wednesdays from 10-11 and Saturdays from Noon to 2 PM. 

We’re sorry, but we cannot accept: 

  • Encyclopedias
  • Outdated reference books/manuals
  • Weekly magazines/periodicals (People, Time, etc.)
  • Old, dirty, torn, moldy and otherwise damaged books
%d bloggers like this: