Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Adding Richness to the Community

The following letter was sent to the Fairfax County Library Board of Trustees June 9, 2015:

I wanted to share some photos I took at the bag sale Sunday.  The second day of our book sale at Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library is only open to the public three hours and hundreds of people come to buy books for $7 a bag. The Friends of the Library put on the book sale every other month.  During the weeks before, a group of volunteers sorted, priced and stored books in advance of the book sale. 

I wanted you to see a little of what it looks like.  I hoped to convey some sense of the labor that is involved that last day when all the books have to be reboxed into cheaper boxes because we keep the expensive sorting boxes.  Manning a book sale takes bone-crushing effort.  It's the Friends' labor that brings value to books which are not wanted and are discarded by FCPL.  The wholesale value of those books is almost negligible.  Because of the work we put in creating the book sale, we get $3 each for many of those books. 

There are no pictures of the weeks in between book sales.  No pictures of what it takes to move 10,000 to 12,000 books into the sale room from the Friends' work room and get them organized by category.  This is just a snapshot of the last few hours of a two-month-long effort by our volunteers.

After the sale is over, all the left-over books have to be moved in fully-loaded carts by volunteers down two long hallways to the loading dock, and there they are loaded on a truck rented by a book wholesaler who takes them away. 

All the FCPL Youth Services Programs and all of the Summer Reading Program are paid for by Friends' contributions from book sales.  Without this money that is generated by our book sales there would be no children's programs at the libraries or a summer reading program. 

What do I do at the book sale?  I sit in the chair where the two hallways intersect and direct traffic.  When we have to move 600 boxes out to the loading dock in one hour, things can get pretty wild with empty carts and loaded carts meeting at the blind corner (where I sit).  You will see a volunteer sitting in my chair in one of the photos. 

A year ago last spring at a Library Board meeting, Peggy Koplitz asked what Friends contribute to FCPL.  We contribute labor, labor to create these wonderful events that add so much richness to our community.  Here are some photos taken Sunday afternoon:


Kathy Kaplan
Board Member, Tysons-Pimmit Friends of the Library
Chair, Library Committee, Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations
Fairfax Library Advocates

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