By Marcia Allen
Technical Services & Collections Manager
The 2012 Manhattan Library Association Book Sale, which took place last weekend, is one of the busiest annual events the library experiences. Parking spots were at a premium, as shoppers selected used books, cd’s and dvd’s either removed from the library’s collection or donated by generous patrons of the library. The sales generated by this three-day event surpassed all previous years, and those patiently waiting in line seemed to be enjoying the experience. But it takes a monumental effort for that sale to take place.
Planning and organizing the event, not to mention arranging it and building a schedule for volunteers, take months of work. Fortunately, the library relies on the expertise of Gary Jeffrey and Bob Newhouse, Book Sale Co-Chairs, who devote countless hours to the project and spend the duration of the sale overseeing all the details. These two gentlemen worked with the hardworking volunteers from the Flint Hills Job Corps to set up tables and haul boxes of materials from the basement. They also coordinated efforts with the Rotaractors and the young men from Tau Kappa Epsilon who cleaned up after the sale. And the co-chairs answered questions, tidied up inventory, and oversaw sales whenever they had time. Grateful words are insufficient for the work these two performed.
Heather Lansdowne, President of MLA, also invested time and effort into the project. Heather not only helped set up the event, but also worked as a cashier for sales.
And Carol Oukrop, MLA Publicity Chair, made sure the event had plenty of publicity around town via signage and announcements, and she worked as a cashier for much of the sale itself.
Those weren’t the only folks to make the sale a success; there were lots of other volunteers who worked shifts, by greeting buyers and helping them out with their purchases. There were those who organized tables and cleaned up throughout the process. There were folks who made sure the auditorium and the Groesbeck Room were clean afterwards. So many people were kind enough to step in and make a daunting effort manageable for all, and the members of the MLA Board certainly deserve very special thanks for all their unselfish work.
What happens when the sale is over? MLA uses the funds generated by the event to support library programs and collections. If you’ve participated in summer reading or the TALK book discussions (going on right now), you’ve benefited from MLA. If you’ve signed up for a “One Book, One Community” reading program, you’ve benefited from MLA. If you’ve admired the beautiful wooden benches or the stunning Aesop’s Fables Trellis in the atrium and wondered how they were funded, MLA was involved. And MLA has contributed to collections’ budgets in purchasing materials beyond what annual library budgets allow.
Lest you think the annual book sale is MLA’s only source of revenue, consider Rosie’s Corner, located near the Technology Center on the west side of the library. Used books, dvd’s and cd’s are arranged on that site, so that buyers have year-round access to used materials in good condition. Wilma Schmeller, coordinator of Rosie’s Corner, spends hours each week sorting and pricing materials so that there is always a fresh supply of available materials.
If you’re not already a member of MLA, there is always time to join. Membership forms are available at the Information Desk on the first floor, in the business office on the second floor, and through the library website. Varying membership costs and levels of involvement are readily available. MLA recruited lots of new members during this year’s book sale, and the organization eagerly welcomes any additional interested people. We invite you to become one of the many who contribute to the depth of service that MPL offers.