Thin your shelves for a good cause at Bonfield’s library sale

·3 min read

The Bonfield Public Library is preparing for the return of their annual book sale, and library staff are looking for community help—they want your books. The big day is June 4, but staff want to spread the word that donations are being accepted now for the sale.

The Friends of the Library are putting on the sale, as this is the group who host various events to help raise money for the library. “It’s an annual event,” explained Jeanette Shields, Bonfield’s head librarian, “but with Covid, it’s been on the back burner.”

Now that it’s just around the corner, Shields expects the five or six tables filled with books will guarantee “a browser’s delight” for the voracious reader. The sale occurs outside, in the library’s parking lot, “so hopefully it doesn’t rain that day.”

Although the library wants your books, there are limits. “We can’t do a truckload, that’s for sure,” Shields warned. “We’ve learned our lesson,” at previous sales, she joked, and urged donors to “be reasonable” with the amount you bring.

Also, be cautious to keep any musty, mouldy, or water damaged books out of your donate box. If the book is filthy and smells, odds are nobody else wants it either. Same goes if your book has missing or ripped pages.

Plus, there are some books that just don’t sell at these events, and the library ends up saddled with them. Topping that list is the encyclopedia. Keep those where they are. Textbooks, new or old, are also unwelcome at the sale.

Activity books, colouring books, and others of the sort are also frowned upon, so keep those to yourself. Ditto for cassette and VHS tapes. If 90 per cent of the population can’t play them, the library does not want to try to sell them.

“People are starting to bring in their boxes,” Shields enthused, and there is room for many more. Drop off your materials during library hours and staff will keep them warm until the sale. The library also includes some discards in the sale, and those coupled with the community donations, ensures even the most eccentric bibliophile is likely to find a title to bring home.

“The main point is finding a new home for them,” Shields said, and “generate a little money” for the library for some programs, perhaps “a summer program” for the kids, or used to purchase some large print books for the stacks. “That little extra” the sale brings in “does a lot of good.”

How much are these books? About two dollars or so? “Even less,” Shields promised, and in the past, books have been sold by the bagful, as low as two dollars per bag. Prices are not set yet for June’s sale, “but it will be very affordable,” Shields assured.

What of the leftovers? The library has a well-practiced plan for those books that don’t sell. Once the event ends, someone from the Powassan United Church stops by to collect any leftover. “They have a book sale in their basement,” to raise funds, Shields explained, and if they are not sold at that sale, the church donates the titles “to the prisons, or women’s shelters, and at one point they were sending them over seas, but I think that became too expensive.”

Shields mentioned she could use some volunteers for the event and reminded residents that “it’s a great little job for high school students who need to get their volunteers hours.”

To volunteer, donate, or for more information, contact the library at 705-776-2396 or reach staff via email at bonfieldlibrary@gmail.com.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca

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