DALLAS — What started in 2016 as a way to let volunteers spend Summerfest with their families has turned into a financial benefit for the Friends of the Dallas Public Library.
The Friends discontinued its annual Summerfest book sale, opting instead for two sales a year — one in April and one in October.
Explore the world of books
What: Friends of the Dallas Public Library book sale.
When: 3 to 7 p.m. on Friday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Bag sale from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Dallas Civic Center, 945 SE Jefferson St., Dallas.
Prices: Hardbacks, $1; paperbacks, 50 cents. Children’s books, DVDs and books on tape also will be available. Book bags, $7. Make an offer on special books.
Of note: The Friends of the Dallas Public Library support programs at the Dallas library, including the cultural passes, which allows any cardholder for the Dallas library access to a number of attractions and museums in the area, including the Gilbert House and the Evergreen Aviation Museum.
For more information: 503-559-3830.
In so doing, it has nearly tripled its profits, adding to the group’s mission to support programming at Dallas Public Library.
“It would be an exaggeration to say all the volunteers needed a change, but many did,” said Friends president Carol Christ.
The bi-annual sales have seemed to be a hit with the community, vice-president Dede Perkins said.
“We work with the schools to try and plan a Friday-Saturday that isn’t homecoming, or Bambino’s auction, or whatever, and the same thing in April,” she said. “Particularly October is good for us because if the weather is crappy, they’re thinking about reading a book in front of the fireplace. And in April, it’s the great awakening of, ‘I need more books.’”
Twice the sales means twice the work in some ways, but less work in others. Christ said the Friends keeps fewer books in the storage unit than they used to, which means fewer books to haul out to the Dallas Civic Center to arrange on tables.
People donate to the Dallas Public Library year-round, Christ said, and many of those books end up in the Friends’ collection for the book sales.
“Occasionally a book will get added to the library collection itself — that’s the librarian’s judgement — but most of them go to the sale,” she said. “Each book is lovingly handled in the back room, boxed up, sorted by categories, and then stored in the shed until the sale.”
Volunteers are needed to spread the word about the sale, set up tables, work on the day of the sale, and then carefully repack whatever hasn’t sold, Christ said.
“You don’t want historical fiction that didn’t sell mixed with the history that didn’t sell,” she said. “You want them separate. And military history is different from history, and the romantic fiction is separate from the suspense fiction. Everything has to be categorized and packed again.”
A book at the Dallas Friends’ sale gets two chances to be sold.
After that, it is taken to Thrift Books in Portland, a warehouse that sells books online and gives a portion of the sale back to the Friends.
Perhaps the favorite part of every reader is the bag sale, held the last hour — 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Perkins said.
Patrons may purchase a black library bag at the book sale for $7, or bring their own and fill it up during that final hour for $5.
“People who bring in a grocery sack can fill it for $5,” Christ said. “People really look forward to that time. They can spend that hour getting all kinds of things and walk out knowing, ‘I’ve helped the library, and I’ve gotten some good bargains.’”
“We have a lot of people who wait and come that last hour because they know,” Perkins added.
“The idea is, if you buy it, then we don’t have to pack it up,” Christ said.