Book sale continues to support library
The Friends of the Clarence Public Library held the fall installment of its semiannual book sale from Oct. 23 to 26, again raising funds to support library programming and the infrastructure of the 12-year-old facility.
The sale — which grew so large that it had to move to twice a year back in 2010 — has helped to purchase such things as a flat-screen television, a security camera system, furniture and a central sound system, which will be installed in the coming months.
The sale grew again this fall, adding a fourth day to the traditionally 3-day event. Friends of the Library President Beverly Dams O’Connor said it was due in part to the immense amount of donations received during the past few months.
“This is the first time we have done the book sale this way,” O’Connor said. “We used to have a sale where Thursday nights were for the Friends only and Friday and Saturday were open to the public. Saturday was the bag sale.”
This year, Wednesday night became the Friends-only event. Dams O’Connor said the book sale has been going on for about 10 years and that all of the proceeds come from library patrons. Those funds make a world of difference to people like Library Director Monica Mooney.
“The Friends pay for almost all of the outside programs that we put on — the flat-screen TV, the shelving materials, basically everything they raise goes directly to the library,” Mooney said. “We really couldn’t do it without them. They allow us to expand our programming, which is a win-win for the community.”
Some of that programming includes guest speakers and seminars, community education, concerts and family nights.
Mooney added that this fall’s sale was the best ever in terms of revenue and that the extra day really made a big difference.
The sale also takes place in the spring, something that Dams O’Connor attributes to the Friends being able to amass such a large quantity of materials to offer.
“It had gotten so big that we had to pay for storage for all of the books,” she said. “We decided to go twice a year because we had so many thousands of books that to do it once a year was untenable. We didn’t have space in the room, and it was costing a fortune to store everything.”
All of the donations for the sale come from library patrons, and Dams O’Connor estimates that it is second in size only to Amherst’s public library. The final day of the sale is the bag sale, which has become immensely popular with educators in the area. For $2, people are able to fill a brown paper bag with as many books as it can hold.
“Typically we have to have our security guard watch the door because people try to rush it,” Dams O’Connor said. “We have teachers who come in and buy materials for their classrooms, and it’s a huge boon to a lot of educators. People come in from the city to do it because they get great deals. It’s a great way to get a lot of books for not a lot of money. Books are expensive.”
When the sale ends, all leftover materials are donated to the American Association of University Women, which hosts a massive annual book sale to support scholarships for female students.
For Dams O’Connor and the Friends group, supporting the library stems from a passion for reading and literacy awareness.
“I have been a lifelong reader, and it’s a way to give back and promote reading,” she said. “We have this beautiful library. We are so fortunate.”
The Clarence Public Library is located at 3 Town Place. For more information on the Friends of the Clarence Public Library, call 741-2650.