Bartlett Express Editor
Just ask Carol Huff about the upcoming Friends of the Bartlett Library Annual Book Sale.
Huff, who is chairman of the sale, knows it inside and out. After all, she became a member of the Friends a year before the first sale, which sold about 3,500 books and brought in $3,000. And she has helped grow the sale to about 12,000 books purchased in 2012 for a profit of $8,420.
The book sale, now in its 10th year, will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 19 & 20 at the Bartlett Station Municipal Center Banquet Hall, 5868 Stage Road. The $5-a-bag sale is scheduled for 1:30 to 4 p.m. April 21.
All proceeds from the book sale will benefit the library.
Because of Huff’s organizational skills, the non-fiction books will be divided into about 20 categories, and the fiction books will fit into about 14 categories. Then there are the children’s books, magazines, videos, audio books and recorded music.
“We’ll have a total of about 50 categories,” said Huff. “The advice we’ve received from other groups is that dividing everything up like this really enhances sales. It makes it easier for people to find what they want without having to look through everything else.”
Library Manager Gay Cain said the financial support from the annual book sale assists the library in numerous ways. Cain said the money pays for items the library can’t get from the annual budget, such as extra shelving or magazine racks.
“And I can’t say enough about how organized and well-run the book sale is each year,” said Cain. “We get comments every year about how easy it is to find items because they are categorized so well. Carol does an awesome job and her work is phenomenal.”
Vickie Simpson, president of the friends, agreed. Simpson has watched Huff work her magic over the years and has learned a few tricks of the trade from the organizational guru.
“Carol measures the linear space for each category of book,” said Simpson. “She knows and has taught me how to wedge the books in on the shelves so we can fit the most in for the sale.”
Huff said planning for each year’s book sale begins shortly after the previous event, when books and other items come in and are sorted and stored. Last year, said Huff, the library received about 30,000 books and audio-video materials.
Of those, 800 books were kept in the library to replace worn copies, a savings of about $12,000. Other items were sold in the special featured and daily sales, earning $13,921 last year for the Friends to use. And about 5,000 books were given to the Memphis Job Corps for the student library.
Simpson said the Friends used the money last year to help the library in many ways, from purchasing new tables for the meeting room to buying four e-readers for staff to train on and use. The Friends sponsored summer reading programs for all ages, as well as story time for preschoolers.
The Friends also honored more than 50 library and Friends volunteers with breakfast at a local restaurant, and celebrated National Library Workers Day with a luncheon for library staff. And the group funded a crafts program for adults, purchased holiday poinsettias to decorate the library and enhanced the young adult section by updating the book selection.
“This book sale is good public relations for the library,” said Huff. “In some places, libraries are expendable and they’ve had a tough time. With the support our book sale gets, the public is demonstrating that this is a resource the community wants and the library isn’t something to be cut.”