NEWTOWN SQUARE–The Newtown Public Library is in full swing of their bi-annual book sale this week but the library has announced they are in desperate need of storage space for the books, which may affect the event's fundraiser in the future.
The Friends of Library of Newtown Public Library have been offering a book sale twice a year for more years than The Friends can remember. Louise DeCecco–a longtime Friends of Library member and a key member in the book sale–said, "The book sales were running long before I started volunteering in 1996. They used to be every other year and now they are twice a year."
But that event may be coming to an end. "The drop off spot at 291 Aronimink Drive [book sale co-chair Dorothey Elicker's home] in Newtown Square is no longer available to us because the owner of the property is putting the house on the market and moving," the co-chair of the sale Dorothy Elicker stated in an announcement. The other co-chair of the sale is Sharon Haslett.
According to The Friends of the Library, the garage at this location has been the storage and sorting location for the books for about six to seven years. The group typically starts on the next sale as soon as the previous sale is completed and a space is needed as quickly as possible for the next sale.
Lynn Elston, president of the Friends of the Newtown Public Library, said the books would come to Dorothy’s house from the library's other collection sites (Acme Markets, Ellis Athletic Center, and Burlap and Bean), while some would be dropped off at Elicker's house.
"The sorting/storage is much more involved that one would think. In the garage (or basement when it’s cold), we sort the books into our 40 categories and then box them up when we get enough for a full box," explained Elston. "We separate fiction by paperback and hardback and also alphabetize the books. The book sale patrons always comment on how nice it is to have our books categorized and the fiction alphabetized."
The books are stored in Elicker's garage, separated by category, and then picked up by the township's public works employees. This year, it took employees two and a half hours to transport the boxes of books.
This will mark Elicker's 12th book sale. By Sunday, Elicker will be moved out of her home which means her drop-off site at her home will be completely defunct after this week. The remaining of the approximate 4,000 books from the book sale will be either kept by The Friends of the Library, donated to several charitable organizations, or recycled.
Elston shares her thoughts and desires for the future status of the Newtown Public Library's bi-annual book sale below.
What alternatives does the library have if they can't find a space to store the books?
If we don’t find a space to store the books, we will not be able to have the August book sale. Our schedule has us putting the collection bins out four months in advance of the sale. We’re fortunate that our area residents are so generous in donating their gently used books. Given our sorting operation, we need every bit of the four months to make this the success it’s been in the past. The book sale, our largest fundraiser, provides us with the ability to support the library in making purchases and/or sponsoring programs not in the library budget. If we cannot hold book sales in the future, our ability to provide financial funding to the library will be severely limited.
What kind of storage place is the library looking for?
We’ve been using a 2-car garage. One bay for our sorting operation and the other to store the books. Given that an average garage size is about 24 x 26 feet, we’re looking for total space of about 1,200–1,400 square feet.
I wanted to share how simply amazing this sale is–all the volunteers, customers, and support we get from the community. It is really nice to see. Tuesday, the first day of the sale, is our busiest. We have people lined up 60-90 minutes ahead of when we open the doors at 10 a.m. for our preview sale. Throughout the sale, we have volunteers of all ages help with re-arranging the books.
Book Sale Dates/Times
Preview Sale: Tuesday, Feb. 5, from 10 a.m. to noon ($3 entry fee)
Tuesday, Feb. 5, from noon to 8 p.m. (open to public)
Wednesday, Feb. 6, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (open to public)
Thursday, Feb. 7, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (open to public)
Friday, Feb. 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open to public)
Saturday, Feb. 9, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (open to public)
Children's books: $1
Children's games: $1
Coffee table books: $5