Weekly Feature

2017-04-19 / Front Page

New storage unit the incentive for library’s spring sale


The Clarence Public Library’s annual spring book sale has been and continues to be the most prominent source of fundraising revenue for the library’s extensive amount of programming offered throughout the year.

The 2017 installment, however, has a special connotation as it hopes to raise enough for a brand-new storage unit that will not only help to cut costs associated with the sale in the future, but will also assist in mitigating the substantial pre-work necessary for the sale to be a success.

“People think this sale just happens. It doesn’t,” said Beverly O’Connor, president of Friends of the Clarence Public Library. “There’s a crazy amount of work that goes into it.”

The Friends of the Clarence Public Library Inc. is a volunteer-run nonprofit whose mission is to support the library and its users through new materials, technology and programming.

The group’s goal is to bring together residents who appreciate the value of an extensive public library and are willing to devote their energy, talent and time to fostering awareness of today’s public library and the vital role it plays in the community.

The Clarence Public Library has averaged a total program attendance of more than 9,700 people, with an average of 350 programs annually, each supported by the Friends.

The proceeds from the spring and fall book sales, O’Connor says, represent all of the events and programs held at the library throughout the year.

Through the Friends’ efforts, the group has been able to support the library though the purchasing of supplies and equipment such as chairs, book carts, book shelves and display stands. It also has provided a public address system, security camera, a custom display case and a mobile shelving unit.

Additionally, the group maintains the “Friends Place Bookstore,” an exclusive room within the library that allows members the ability to buy used books as they please.

This year, the spring sale will begin from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, for its annual “Members Only Night.” The sale will open to the public from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 27, and from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 28. A $4 bag sale will also be offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 29.

Library patrons donate thousands of books just for the spring sale each year. The piles of books are sorted completely by volunteers, after which they’re transported to a rented storage unit on Roll Road.

On the Saturday prior to the sale, volunteers from the Youth Center haul boxes of books from the Friends’ storage unit. The books, already pre-sorted into categories, are then placed and presented on tables.

“The Parks Department, thanks to Jim Burkard, will direct employees to fill trucks as needed and take the books over to storage. This would happen several times a year,” O’Connor said.

The new storage unit will present an opportunity for long-term cost savings, says O’Connor, as the Friends will no longer be on the hook for storage or truck rental. It will also free up the Parks Department employees to focus on preparing town parks and fields for the spring season.

O’Connor estimates that the 630-square-foot, walk-in steel shed, will cost a few thousand dollars, which will be paid for by the Friends and built by the Parks Department. A successful spring sale, she added, will go a long way in helping to pay for the amenity, which will be located next to the electrical plant, which provides air conditioning for 1 Town Place.

While a new storage unit will help streamline a very involved presale process, O’Connor says the new unit doesn’t mean the Friends will require any less help than usual. High school volunteers and assistance from the Clarence Youth Bureau will be vital because books will have to be carted from the library to the storage unit outside.

O’Connor stresses the importance of the sale’s preparation in making it one of the premier book sales across Western New York.

“We wanted to use this storage unit as a draw for the book sale,” she said. “We’ll be talking about it through the course of the sale, in that the proceeds from this book sale are to build this unit. It’s important that people know the back story and how much work goes into it.”

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