By DARLA M. YOUNGS
COOPERSTOWN – Friends of the Village Library is already preparing for its popular Winter Book Sale, to be held February 3-5 during the 2023 Winter Carnival Weekend.
From 10 a.m. to noon this Saturday, November 19, FoVL will host a book collection in the Village Hall Board Room at 22 Main Street. Used books in good condition are welcome, along with CDs, DVDs and audio books. Textbooks and outdated travel books, however, will not be accepted.
“The Cooperstown community is incredibly generous in donating used books for the sales,” said Lynne Mebust, FoVL board member and co-chair of the Book Sale Committee along with Ivy Bischof. “While some book collections are more successful than others due to factors such as weather, timing, publicity, etc., I estimate that we collect somewhere between 3,000-5,000 books per collection day.”
According to Mebust, FoVL generally conducts two book sales annually. One is the three-day event during Cooperstown’s Winter Carnival, and the other is an eight-day sale beginning the last Saturday in June and running daily through the following weekend.
“FoVL’s contributions supplement the library’s operating budget and make possible additional acquisitions, programs and equipment beyond what is achievable in the tax-supported library budget,” Mebust explained. “This past year, FoVL’s contribution to the library was approximately $28,000.00. The book sales and annual appeal are FoVL’s two fundraising initiatives.”
The FoVL Board of Directors currently includes President Karen Katz, Vice President Sydney Sheehan, Secretary Bill Oliver, and Treasurer Kallie Moore, along with Henry Bauer, Bischof, Ann Brown, Dee Crowell, Emily Gibson, Alan Kozak, Antoinette Kuzminski, Mebust, Martha Membrino, Molly Mooney, Nina Nocciolino Mullaney, Molly Myers, and Namita Sugandhi.
“In addition to the board, anyone can be a Friend of the Village Library of Cooperstown by participating in our programs, making a donation, or volunteering at our book sales and other events,” Mebust said.
Volunteers are integral to the success of the book sales.
“We need a lot of help and encourage anyone who would like to assist to show up and get involved. Our organization relies on dozens of volunteers to collect, sort, and store books on collection days; to set up tents, tables, and books prior to sales; to organize and sell books throughout the sales; and to clean up at the conclusion of each sale,” explained Mebust.
FoVL’s board members are joined in this work by members of the Library Board and people from throughout the community who donate their time to this effort.
“We also collaborate with the Library Club at Cooperstown High School, whose members are valuable volunteers and help make the sales possible. This work can include a lot of physical labor and we are very grateful to Henry Bauer, who leads the younger generation of FoVL board members on our book sale committee, along with volunteers such as Bud and Jacob Zaengle and many others who help with the literal heavy lifting.”
FoVL is mindful of keeping books out of the waste stream to the extent possible.
“Unsold books from the Winter Carnival sale will be stored until the summer sale,” Mebust said. “The summer event is longer and more books are sold. In an effort to place as many books as possible into the hands of the community, a $5.00 bag sale is held during the final two days of the summer sale.”
According to Mebust, FoVL tries to donate any books remaining unsold after the summer sale to such organizations as retirement communities, nursing homes, family court, thrift stores, the jail and local book dealers.
“Although in past years we have had to recycle some unsold books, in 2022 we were successful in donating all unsold books to other organizations in the area,” she said.
The book collections and the book sales make people happy, Mebust continued.
“They are beloved community events. Cooperstown loves books, and loves our library, and this affection makes being involved in the FoVL sales a very enjoyable experience. Community members appreciate having a good way to donate used books and we are equally appreciative of all those who save up their books for our collection days. And when a sale begins, there is always a positive reaction from members of the community and Cooperstown visitors alike.”
FoVL’s mission is to promote cultural literacy and enhance community engagement in the library through the following measures: advocacy for the library; fundraising; direct financial contributions to the library to support its infrastructure and programs; and development and support of educational and recreational programs.
Those wishing to donate used books can bring them to the Fair Street entrance to 22 Main Street on Saturday, November 19 from 10 a.m. to noon.
“FoVL accepts used books in good condition. We cannot accept outdated textbooks, travel books, or encyclopedias—or books in poor condition—due to the burden this puts upon our volunteers to dispose of such unwanted items.
Anyone who would like to volunteer to help with the book collection should arrive by 9:45 and will be welcomed to the Friends—and put directly to work,” Mebust said.