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As summer starts to wind down and back-to-school time approaches, it’s time to hit the books! The Friends of the Fresno County Public Library are asking for your help in making this year’s Big Book Sale a whopping success.
From Wednesday–Sunday, Aug. 15–19, the Friends will be holding their Eighth Annual Big Book Sale at the Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis. For those five days, they’ll be selling donated books out of a pop-up shop inside the mall (on the Kohl’s side) to raise funds to support renovations, special programs, and general operations at our local libraries. This week leading up to the sale will be devoted to setting up shop, including an all-day collection drive on Aug. 8.
Books and volunteers needed!
There are all kinds of ways and so many good reasons to get involved with the Big Book Sale. Whether you’re looking to lighten your load of literature (or CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, puzzles, and video games) or, conversely, if you’re aiming to expand your media collection without busting your budget—or even if you’ve just got some free time to chip in for a great cause—the Big Book Sale wants you!
Volunteers are sought for all phases of the sale, starting with the big collection drive hosted by KSEE 24 on Wednesday, Aug. 8, from 7 a.m.–7 p.m. Muscles are especially in demand for this undertaking, which will take place in the back parking lot of the mall. It’s a perfect opportunity to put those high school and college kids needing to fulfill community service hours to work.
The collection event will be followed by days of sorting materials and then by the sale itself, where treasures and oddities will abound. Just about anything in good enough condition to be resold is fair game, and donations will be accepted throughout the duration of the sale. On Sunday, Aug. 19, it’s $5 a bag for whatever books remain, and on that Monday, everything that’s left will be boxed up or donated to nonprofits and community organizations, and the space will be cleared out.
There’s no need to sign up for volunteer shifts—just show up during work hours and introduce yourself. Volunteer shifts are listed here. (Note that on Sunday, Aug. 12, the shop will be closed.) Your service hours will go toward helping your local branch library or a branch that you designate.
Who are the Friends of the Fresno County Public Library?
The Friends of the Fresno County Public Library is a nonprofit organization that serves as “a link between the library and the community,” supporting literacy, lifelong learning, and public awareness in Fresno, according to its website. It assists the library in innumerable ways, covering expenses beyond those the county’s budget would cover.
For example, it’s provided amenities such as furnishing, artwork, and décor in libraries, even carpeting and flooring for some branches. It’s donated prizes for the Fresno County Public Library’s annual poetry contest. It’s footed the bill for a sun shade project at Woodward Park Library and the Fowler Library. It’s sponsored movie nights, yoga classes, and other special programs throughout the county, and it has generally advocated for the public library, most notably as a critical force in rallying support for Measure B, the 2012 ballot initiative that extended a local sales tax earmarked “to protect libraries from state budget cuts by preventing library closures and reduced library hours; keeping qualified librarians; improving reading/literacy, job search programs/computer technology; providing neighborhood school library joint programs, and maintaining services for children, seniors, and the blind.”
In addition to hosting fundraising events such as Brews and Vines, where patrons get to sample local beers, wines, and cuisine right inside the library amongst the racks of books, the Friends of the Library operate a permanent bookstore—located adjacent to the Sunnyside Regional Library—on Thursdays and Saturdays, as well as the Big Book Sale and occasional smaller sales at various locations throughout the year. They also stock racks of super-cheap for-sale books that you’ll find in most local branches.
Find out more about the organization, including how to become a Friends of the Library member or sponsor, here. You can stay in the know about its upcoming events by following the FOL page on Facebook. Happy reading!
Thanks to Rocky Vang of Fresno County Public Library for assistance with this article. Photos by Jill Potter of Fresno County Public Library.