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Friends of Jacksonville Library Invite Shoppers To Bag Books This Weekend

Cyd Hoskinson

Book lovers can grab a grocery bag and head to the Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library’s book sale this weekend.

The fundraiser offers a selection of thousands upon thousands of volumes, along with CDs and records.

The Friends of the Library warehouse is around the side of the University Park Library branch at 3435 University Blvd N. near Jacksonville University.

On the Saturday before the big book sale, it was anything but quiet as volunteers were putting books on shelves and flattening the cardboard boxes they arrived in.

“The library takes books off the shelves that they no longer need. Plus we get donations from people who just bring them to our front door,” says volunteer sales manager David Wells.

“We have well over 100,000 books and CDs. We have some old LP phonograph records... well over 100,000,” he says.

Wells says a lot of time is spent sorting so people don’t have to spend a lot of time searching for what they want.

Fiction are sorted by the last name of the author. The non-fiction books are sorted into about categories including religion, food, health, travel, biography, military history, westerns, romance, young adult and African-American interest.

“We have a huge, big sci-fi section,” Wells says.

Friends of the Library volunteer treasurer Margaret Smith says, “There’s just so much that one person cannot encompass in their own physical life that you can discover through books.”

Spoken like a true English major and retired librarian, which is exactly what she is. Smith says the quarterly warehouse sales are big money makers, bringing in between $20,000 and $25,000 four times a year.

“Then we have an ongoing amount of money that we get from our weekly sales. And so we’re probably taking in $150,000 a year,” she says.

The money goes to the Jacksonville Public Library for items that aren’t in the budget like staff training and refreshments for young patrons.

Shoppers at this weekend’s Friends of the Library warehouse sale get all the books they can fit in a brown paper grocery bag for $15, and if they fill two bags, they get a third for free.


Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.