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Befriending books, supporting opportunities

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by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette

A lifeline for the Sequim Library has been the Friends of Sequim Library, a volunteer group of 145 people that helps with community and library needs in a variety of ways.

The group holds a monthly book sale, coming up from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11; supports children’s summer reading programs; purchases books and DVDs for the library and aids in projects like last year’s Sequim branch remodel, to which the Friends gave $150,000. The group’s funding comes from book sales and membership dues.

Kate Adams, Friends’ board of directors’ president, said they bring in about $3,000 a month from the sale held behind Sequim Library in the Friends’ book sale building.

“We get a lot of enthusiasm from the community,” Adams said. “We’re the best garage sale in town, they keep saying.”

The library also has a space at its entrance where the Friends sells 50-cent paperbacks and $1 hardbacks.

“The hallway book sale is increasingly becoming a money-maker,” Adams said.

Sale specifics

Friends of Sequim Library receives an average of 5,000 items a month at its round-the-clock donation building. Adams said some readers buy several books from the sale and then donate them back.

Volunteers clean out the donation bin daily because people donate so often.

Items mostly end up for sale but sometimes needed books and DVDs go into library circulation. Groups like the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula are offered discounts for buying books, too.
Adams encourages people to donate items they would buy themselves.

“People have the mindset that it isn’t easy to throw away a book,” Adams said.

They often receive items they cannot sell, such as books with water damage and mold that have to be thrown away. Damaged and unsalable items often are recycled. Older materials are turned away, such as encyclopedias, computer and health books older than 2000 and Reader’s Digest condensed books.

All donated magazines are given away.

Members Only

Group leaders held their first “members only” book sale on Nov. 12, a day prior to the regular book sale, as a thank you to supporters. About 30 people anxiously waited for the doors to open.

Rick Yates of Port Angeles joined Friends of Sequim Library a few years ago and has bought a few hundred books at the monthly sales.

“It’s a great organization,” Yates said.

Jean Falconer said she became a member the week she moved to Sequim in September 1995. She was helping others sign up for memberships.

“It’s exciting to see our favorite authors come through,” Falconer said.

Annual membership costs $10 for an individual, $20 family and $30 businesses.

New members receive a reusable shopping bag for joining and a quarterly newsletter. Adams said the board of directors is looking into the possibility of reintroducing life memberships. The directors are considering other discount options for members, too.

Highlighted projects

This summer, volunteers completed two big projects — renovating the book sale building and creating a performance stage.

Gravel was spread outside the book sale building. A new roof was put on, the floor was reinforced and new shelving and carpeting were installed. Adams said they get more books inside with the improvements. 

The new stage creates a higher elevation for performers to stand out from the crowd of children at the summer reading events.

In 2010, the program brought in seven programs/performances and more than 1,600 children and adults.
Adams said programs have significantly impacted children’s materials checkouts in the library.

“That’s why volunteers work so hard,” Adams said.

Their next project is to build a stage cover and install bleachers for the audience.

Contact the Friends of Sequim Library at friendsofsequimlibrary@gmail.com or by mailing Friends of Sequim Library at P.O. Box 1011, Sequim, WA 98382.

 

More information can be found through links at www.nols.org.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

 

 

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