Friends of the Library stocked up for spring sale

The Friends of the Library (FOL) opens its book house on Saturday for its biannual book salethe first spring sale since the COVID-19 pandemic startedand the all-volunteer group is hoping it stacks up favorably to the October event.

The autumn FOL fundraiser was the second best sale ever in terms of total collections, Ellen Smith, the organization’s vice-president, said in a phone interview. 

“We weren’t sure if the public was going to come [to the fall sale],” Smith said. “But it was very well attended, and we were so delighted.”

The spring event opens at 9 a.m. Saturday and will feature more than 500,000 pieces of donated materials that includes vinyl records, games, puzzles, posters, art work, manga and comics as well as books. Most priced between 25 cents and $4.

Friends of Library book

The sale, which draws visitors from all over the Southeast, also features the Collector’s Corner where rare finds, like signed copies, vintage books and first editions, can be found for reasonable prices.

As with the fall sale, the material for sale will be divided into two separate spaces with separate entrances. The FOL annex will house the art and architecture books as well as the manga, comics, games and puzzles. The rest of the items as well as the Collector’s Corner are located in the main book house.

The spring sale follows the traditional schedule:

  • Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
  • Monday from noon to 6 p.m.
  • Half price day on Tuesday from noon to 6 p.m.
  • 10 cents day on Wednesday from noon to p.m.
Friends of the Library art

Strollers, carts and rolling suitcases are not allowed on Saturday and Sunday. And patrons are asked to bring their own boxes. The Collector’s Corner and the FOL Annex will not be open on Wednesday.

Some new changes that were implemented in the fall will remain a part of the spring sale, including occupancy limits on both the main book house and the annex.

“Our occupancy limit is important to us still for the health and safety of our volunteers and our shoppers,” Smith said. “We’re not ready to give that up yet.”

Masks are not required for the spring sale but the FOL is requesting people wear them inside.

The fall also saw the debut of a new payment system that allowed people to pay by credit or debit card as well as with Google Pay and Apple Pay. Prior sales had been cash only.

Approximately half of all purchases in the fall were made via credit cards, so the new payment system will remain an option for the spring, Smith said. 

The one minor change from the Fall sale will be to the check out process for the annex area. Once patrons are ready to make their purchases, they will leave the annex and check out under a tent outside.

Moving the annex check out outside will help get more people flowing through that portion of the sale, Smith said. During the fall sale, the annex check out lines were inside and occasionally became a bottleneck because of the occupancy limits. Moving the check out should alleviate that.

Friends of the Library artists books

The group is run by volunteers, some of whom do weekly shifts at the book house sorting through donations. Volunteers also perform more than 800 individual jobs during the five-day sales.

“The fact that the Fall Sale was one of FOL’s best speaks to the community’s interest in, support of, and appreciation of the work we do,” Smith said.

Money raised at the book sales is donated to the Alachua County Library District.

Rachel Cook, the public relations and marketing manager for the ACLD, said that the FOL donations are used for everything from programming to book purchases. 

The FOL has given more than $5.4 million to the ACLD since 1986, including more than $25,000 in fiscal year 2020-2021, Cook said.

“Friends of the Library is our steadfast partner in raising awareness about the Library District’s many services and raising money to enhance what we can provide for the community,” Cook said via email. “FOL’s biannual book sales help us achieve our mission of building a better community by creating opportunities to participate, connect, and discover.”

Friends of Library Harry Potter books


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