UPDATE: Spring Friends of the Alamance Libraries Book Sale postponed

UPDATE: In the Breaking COVID-19 News Department is this announcement about the Friends of the Alamance Libraries Book Sale. Posted today (March 12, 2020)  from the Friends of the Library . . .

Dear Book Sale Customer:

Due to the COVID-19 Virus (Coronavirus) the Friends of Alamance County Libraries is postponing our Spring Book Sale. originally scheduled for  March 13-23, 2020.

We hope that everyone stays well during this trying time and we look ahead to selecting an appropriate date to hold our sale.

We regret any inconvenience caused by this decision, but for the safety of our volunteers and customers we feel it imperative to postpone this upcoming sale.We are disappointed, but feel that this rescheduling is in everyone’s best interest.

Please stay tuned to our webpage and Facebook page for more information on future sale dates.

Thank you for your patience,
Friends of the Library Book Sale Committee
342 S. Spring Street Burlington, NC 27215

I was planning for my morning shift as a volunteer on Saturday. Sigh, hopefully we will see you soon when this all clears.

The original post follows

You see a lot of familiar faces at the annual Friends of the Alamance County Libraries Book Sale — sometimes even before it starts.

Yes, with the spring edition of the annual Spring Book Sales still a month away on Saturday morning, I spent a few hours volunteering in the basement of May Memorial Library in downtown Burlington. Saturday was one of the Drop-Off times the library’s non-profit support organization has to build stock for the sales, which are held in the spring and fall. People can donate books all year long — even during the sales — but periodically special Drop-off Days are scheduled because it helps with organizing and sorting. It’s major process. The sales constitute the biggest fund-raiser for the Friends of the Alamance County Libraries, which funds programming at May Memorial, North Park, Graham and Mebane library branches that are offered at no cost to the public. The Spring Sale is from March 13-23 at May Memorial.

Just how big are the annual book sales? Since the program started in 1986 the sales have raised more than $1 million for the libraries.

That’s big. So dozens of volunteers and members of the Friends of the Library Board (that’s where I fit in) are busy right now sorting and shelving books, CDs and DVDs so all will be ready for eager customers when the sale date arrives. It’s a huge task involving thousands of donations by members of our community.

Friends’ members are asked to give an hour here or there to get the sorting and shelving done. I had a spare couple of hours on Saturday (Feb. 15). I arrived in the morning just as the announced Drop-Off period was starting. As luck would have it, I was stationed at the Davis Street entrance to the May Memorial basement with Larry Sharpe, whose wife Gay is on the board with me. I hadn’t seen Larry, a former Alamance County commissioner who also served an unexpired term on Burlington City Council a few years ago, in a long time. We caught up on some local current events, one passing observation or two about national news (but we mutually decided not to dwell on it too much) and a lot about things at Elon, where Larry still has a keen interest and things are always evolving. He and Gay had recently traveled to Charleston, South Carolina and saw Elon defeat the College of Charleston in the biggest men’s basketball win this season for the Phoenix.

Our conversation was occasionally broken up by the arrival of donors driving cars or SUVs toting boxes or bags of books to donate. In all we handled several dozen bags and boxes with probably a few hundred books in all. We would move the boxes and bags from the cars and haul them inside where more volunteers sorted books into different categories for shelving. We gave the donors receipts, information about the Friends of the Libraries and information about the next sale.

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After the Drop-Off period ended, I moved to the fiction room to shelve books in some identifiable order. We have moved some topics around this year to facilitate changing habits and give more space to the most popular categories.

So everything might not be exactly where you recall it before.

But the biggest change will be the addition of a sales tax for customers, something that is out of our organization’s control. Because we have two sales instead of one, a new state law mandates that we charge a sales tax even though the Friends of the Alamance County Libraries is a nonprofit organization. We are disappointed in this but will make the best of it and try to ease the checkout process to a well-oiled machine.

I’ll be headed to the library a few more times over the next couple of weeks as we ready for the Spring Sale. The start date of March 13 (from noon to 6 p.m.) is for Friends members only, but people can become members for $10. Also, shoppers using a scanner will be charged a $10 fee, good for the entire sale. I look forward, as always, to some good deals on used books — and seeing some familiar faces.

The following are days and times for the Spring Book Sale. May Memorial Library is located at 342 S. Spring St., Burlington. Join the sale at the Davis Street entrance.

March 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
March 15, 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
March 16-20, Noon to 6 p.m.
March 21, 10 am. to 4 p.m.
March 22, 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
March 23, Noon to 6 p.m.

 

 

 

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