Looking for something to do over the Victoria Day long weekend?
Why not go through your book shelves, pick out some titles you'll never read again (or maybe never get around to reading in the first place), and donate them to a good cause?
The “Friends of the Library” will hold its annual book sale on Saturday, May 25 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Fort Frances Public Library, and residents can drop donations off there starting Tuesday (the library is not open on Victoria Day).
As long as they're only gently-used, all sorts of books of welcomed as donations except for encyclopedias or textbooks, which just do not sell anymore, “Friends” president Laurel Halvorsen said.
“Almost anything else is good. Paperbacks, hardbacks, children's books,” she noted.
“Even old CDs and movies are good. Those kind of things do come in and we do get rid of a lot of them, too," added Halvorsen. "A lot of people out there are still using them.”
Halvorsen noted the public has been very generous in donating quality books each year—and in coming out to get more books during the actual sale.
While ebooks are popular, many people still like their paperbacks. The book sale gives them an opportunity both to stock up on their “cabin reading” for the summer and to donate back the books they picked up at the sale last year.
The book sale now is the group's sole fundraiser each year.
The money raised is used to enhance library programming and provide “extras” that the library's annual budget does not allow, Halvorsen said.
She added the group's mandate is to help the library, although the funds it raises cannot be used for staff wages or operating costs.
As such, the “Friends" supports a number of children's library programs, sponsors guest authors and performances by musicians, and support events like the always-popular "Teddy Bear Picnic.”
They also help buy capital items, such as furniture (bookcases, a reading chair, etc.).
When it comes to the sale next Saturday, books won't be individually priced, Halvorsen noted.
Instead, people can make donations for whatever ones they pick out.
She added this system—as opposed to individually pricing books—has worked very well in recent years.
It's not only easier on the volunteers working the book sale (i.e., no adding up book prices and no money counting required) but it is good for the public.
“People can pay what they feel comfortable paying,” said Halvorsen, adding some people make very generous donations using this system.
While those who come out next Saturday will get first crack at the selection, whatever books aren't sold that day will remain available for part of the following week.
Any leftover books then will be passed on to other organizations.
Some will go to the La Verendrye Hospital Auxiliary for its annual “Strawberry Social” next month as well as to the tuck shops at the hospital and Rainycrest, to local schools, and to hospital waiting rooms, to name a handful of examples.
“I do end up going to the recycle with a lot, but I try to make sure they get out to people who can use them as much as possible,” stressed Halvorsen.
“Friends of the Library” always is looking for new members, and volunteering before or during the book sale is a perfect time to get involved.
“If there's somebody who's interested in the sale or would like to become involved in the sale, they're more than welcome to come down (to the library) on Thursday or Friday (of next week), and help us get things set up,” urged Halvorsen.
“If they're interested in becoming a member, it's a great time to come out and give us a hand and see what we do,” she added.
“More and more local volunteer groups are becoming smaller and smaller all the time as our population ages. Any new members we can cultivate, we're in.”