Beaumont Library Friends pitch books for 10 cents apiece
Selling a book for 10 cents may not sound worth the effort. But selling thousands of books at 10 cents apiece can add up to real money.
The annual Friends of the Beaumont Public Library book sale is one of the Beaumont Public Library System’s largest events. The sale generated $753 last year and $1,105 in 2017.
Featured items this year include textbooks, cookbooks, antique books and art books. In addition, shoppers will have a chance to peruse vintage vinyl, picture frames, VHS tapes, CDs and other media, and the odd knickknack that made its way into the veritable mountain of boxes collected and donated by the Friends of the Library.
“One year we had an old globe, and that went fast. It was 10 cents, after all,” Library System Director Paul Eddy said.
The price was established at the first book sale nearly 30 years ago and has stayed the same.
Eddy recalled a woman giving her young daughter $5 and telling her she could spend it as she pleased, and the girl gleefully took off to shop.
“I said, ‘Ma’am, you know the books are only 10 cents, and you gave her $5,’ and you could see the math churning in her head — that’s 50 books — and she started calling to her daughter, ‘Sweetie, come back!’” he said.
Friends secretary Joyce Bowman said organizers are hoping this year is more profitable than the last.
“We think it had to do with the weather,” she said. “It was a rainy day, and then there was Harvey, so we were a little disappointed with the numbers.”
The money is evenly split between the Friends and the city of Beaumont, which funds the libraries’ day-to-day operations.
However, the Friends of the Library is able to keep all of the membership fees collected, which Bowman said is where the group raises the most money. New memberships generated $1,031 the last two years.
The nonprofit Friends of the Beaumont Public Library raises money and volunteers to support programs at the five libraries and the Literacy Center that are not funded by the city.
“They help us with things like our summer reading program and our GED classes, and we have Spanish, French, and Hebrew classes that we offer,” Eddy said.
He warned against thinking public libraries are “dying off.”
“Last year we had more people walk though the door than the year before,” he said. “People expect to see a slowdown, but it’s not the case.”
Though patrons are checking out fewer books, they come to utilize the other facilities available at the libraries, like computers, WiFi, classes and printing and copying services.