As the sun poked out over the Arthur F. Turner Community Library on Jan. 28, book enthusiasts from West Sacramento and beyond packed into the tiny community room on the building’s south side for the West Sacramento Friends of the Library book sale.
The weekend book sale, which is held two to three times a year, supports free library programs and activities for the community. It attracted 300 to 400 people and raised $1,547.70, according to Friends of the Library Secretary Helen MacDonald.
The group also sells books and magazines throughout the year in the library’s alcove, which is located just inside the main entrance of the 18,000 square foot facility. The alcove book sales bring in about $600 to $800 a month, according to Bill and Lynda Campbell, longtime Friends of the Library members, who, along with other volunteers, oversee the book sales.
“I’m looking for older children’s books, especially ones with beautiful artwork,” said Sacramento book collector and online book seller Joseph Parker, who added that he heard about the sale online through bookfinder.com. “Also, classic books along with cookbooks, especially older collectible cookbooks.”
Another shopper was scanning books with a handheld device to check the titles against an online database to see if they were worth buying for resale.
XiuQing Hu, whose children were picking out a large selection of children’s books, said the sale was helping her save money because buying books from retail stores can be expensive.
Prices ranged from 10 cents for magazines, to 50 cents for paperbacks, to $1 for hardcover books. One table had specially-priced items ranging from $5 to $10. DVDs, video games, VHS tapes and more sold for up to $5 each. A $2 off discount was offered to members of the Friends of the Library.
The items offered at the sales are donated by the community and Friends of the Library members. In addition, library staff donate items that are outdated or need to be replaced.
“I saw the ad in Starbucks and I was really intrigued ‘cause I love books and I love that the money is going towards the library so that they can grow and I can come here more often,” said West Sacramento resident Paris Jarvis, a fan of books about history who attended the sale with her grandmother Toni Carlson. “I just really like getting used books because you feel more involved with it instead of just getting a brand new book.”
Touger Vang, programming and outreach librarian and public services coordinator for West Sacramento said the money supports programs like preschool story time, summer reading programs for children and teens, adult book clubs and various guest speakers.
Funds also help pay for special collections and other media that can be checked out like movies and video games. Vang said these funds are vital because Yolo County mandates that all of the library’s programs are free to the public.
“The West Sacramento Friends of the Library play a really critical role in the reach of this branch,” said Vang. “They help us by fundraising such as today, you know, when they do the book sales. All the proceeds come and supports all the programming. Without their support, we can’t do the things that we do here.”
Bill Campbell said any items that are not in sellable condition are hauled to a recycling facility. Proceeds from the recycling go into the fund. Money raised by Friends of the Library is in addition to money the library receives from the city.
“The library has a list of things, you know, programs and things like that and how much it’s going to cost and everything and so we go ahead and give them the money they need for the programs,” Bill Campbell said. “It’s a great library and financially we’re able to keep it going.”
West Sacramento Friends of the Library was founded in 1960, 27 years before West Sacramento officially became a city, and the non-profit organization has since supported the library both in its original and current location.
“I’ve really learned about all the services [the library does] for young toddlers, what they do for adults in terms of job education, what they do for teenagers in terms of career preparation,” said Alex Hirsch, the current president of the West Sacramento Friends of the Library. “The fact that it serves all the community makes it one of the special places within West Sacramento. The goal is to help support the West Sacramento staff’s programs that continue to expand as the population of the city continues to expand.”
For more information on the West Sacramento Friends of the Library, visit http://www.yolocounty.org. Those interested in donating books can use the drop box in front of the library, which is located at 1212 Merkley Ave.