Books fly off shelves at Friends of the Library sale

The purpose of the event last weekend was to help the library get rid of old and unused books to make room for new ones and raise funds for future library programs.

Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library held its book sale last weekend, perhaps its biggest and most popular event.

Bradford residents are entitled to the library book sale three times a year; one in autumn, winter and spring. The event, organized by the Friends of the Library, helps the library get rid of its old and unused collections to make room for new ones. The sale also consists of donations from the public. Proceeds help fund future library programs and events. Any unsold items are usually donated to Better World Books, an organization dedicated to donating books to those in need.

“As we bring in new books, we have to get rid of old, damaged or less popular books which are then sorted and rated by Friends for sale. This keeps the books in circulation as much as possible, so they don’t go to waste,” says Nina Cunniff, the library’s assistant general manager.

The event has grown in popularity among locals, as Cunniff and his staff now see queues outside the building each day of the sale before the library opens.

Friends of the Library is a voluntary organisation, registered charity and sub-committee of the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library. The organization has been in existence for over 30 years with a mandate to raise funds solely for the Bradford library system. One hundred percent of proceeds go directly to the library, typically between $3,000 and $4,000 per event; it’s about $12,000 a year for the library.

The Friends of the Library managed to raise enough money to upgrade the building’s front doors, which were once large and heavy glass doors, but have since been replaced with automatic sliding doors. They also contributed to improving the lighting of the programming room and the equipment needed for the children’s programs.

As for book sale customers, they were offered items as low as $1, making it easy for book lovers to stock up on new reads.

“You don’t need a lot of money to buy decent books from our collection,” Cunniff adds. “We have teachers coming in to buy boxes of children’s books for their classroom collection.” The children’s section was already visibly empty after a day of sales.

Milt Calder, former chairman of the Bradford Library Board, is treasurer of Friends of the Library and is the main organizer of the book sale. He joined the organization 20 years ago after a long career in the library system.

“I’ve been involved with libraries since I was eight years old,” says Calder. “Ever since I walked into a library and saw all those books, I’ve always loved them.”

He estimates that around 2,000 children’s books and 2,000 adult books are sold at each event.

The Friends of the Library are looking for new volunteers to participate in events such as book sales. If you’re interested, email the library about volunteering, ask a member at an event, or attend one of the committee meetings on the first Tuesday of each month.

Don’t miss the next book sale at the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library taking place in January.

About Christopher Rodgers

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