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Books here, there, everywhere

The Friends of the Sandy Library increase library revenue with book sales


by: POST PHOTO: JIM HART - Book Nook volunteer Colleen Hoyt of the Friends of the Sandy Library stops to look as she unpacks a box of books. They€sˇÃ„ôre amond the 12,000 books recently received at the Book Nook as part of a donation from Thom Walker, former owner of Some Bookstore. POST PHOTO: JIM HARTThe word “windfall” comes to mind when Colleen Hoyt remembers the day a couple of weeks ago that she heard the Book Nook would receive a donation of 12,000 books, filling 225 cardboard boxes.

Hoyt had to sort through all of those books, one at a time, to place them in categories and get some ready for bookshelves and others for storage.

The Book Nook is the outlet for the nonprofit Friends of the Sandy Library, which supports the library with purchases not found in its budget — filling unanticipated needs.

Thousands of dollars are earned every year through Book Nook sales of nearly new books donated to the Friends group. Some of the revenue is saved, while some is invested for those future years when the library district doesn’t provide enough funds. That investing is through the Oregon Community Foundation. But some revenue is always ready for any purchase the library director requests that is approved by the Friends’ board of directors.

Volunteer for years

Hoyt has been working as a five-days-a-week volunteer for the past 15 years. Every Tuesday another half-dozen people join her for a full day of work, cleaning, pricing and restocking bookshelves as well as packing books in boxes that will be taken to a storage building at Hoyt’s home.

She calls that storage building “the stable,” and it actually was a well-built stable for the horses owned by Lindsay Wagner, an American actress with a long career who is best known for her portrayal of Jaime Sommers in the ‘70s television series “The Bionic Woman.”

The stable has been renovated, so it is a good place to safely store books, now housing about 300 cardboard boxes of books.

Hoyt and her husband, George, have been working at the Book Nook for about 15 years, and Colleen Hoyt says Pat and Jack Frick have been working with them that entire time.

Many hands are needed when donations are received. George Hoyt said last year alone the Friends received the equivalent of 1,286 boxes of books.

But for any volunteer just beginning to help the library in this way, it takes time to become familiar with everything.

“Given all the different categories of books we have,” she said, “between the DVDs and CDs, children’s books, fiction, nonfiction and all the categories within fiction and nonfiction, it takes a little while for (a person new to the Book Nook) to get a grasp of how we make it work.”

But it works, and the reasonably priced books fill all the shelves on a couple of walls inside the library (purchases are made at the library’s front counter).

Many and recent books

Hoyt says fiction books all were published between 2009 and 2012, and hardbacks range in price from $2.50 to $5. Standard size paperbacks are all $1, she said, but they also offer two other sizes of paperbacks (easy-read and trade-paper sizes) at prices slightly higher than standard.

There’s not enough shelf space to place as many books as the Book Nook has to offer, and that is the reason for the thousands in the back room and even more thousands waiting in the stable as well as the thousands the Book Nook donates to other library Friends groups every year.

Some books go to the Friends’ Buddy Books program where children’s books not in quite good enough condition to be sold are placed in waiting rooms for anyone to take or borrow.

Hoyt says the Book Nook deals mainly in books that are in excellent condition. It might be a used bookstore, but the books don’t look very used.

“We really strive to take the best (book donations),” she said, “because we have so much now. We can afford to be really choosy about the condition of books. It has to be a really good (looking) book for me to keep it.”

Hoyt keeps a bulletin board full of requests for specific books, with phone numbers of each person who will buy a specific book before it is placed on a shelf.

Books come and go

Many of the books on the Book Nook shelves have come to Sandy as leftovers from the annual sales at Multnomah County libraries in Portland and Gresham. Hoyt is especially appreciative of the nonfiction donations from those two sources.

“We couldn’t have the quality book store that we have, particularly in the nonfiction area,” Hoyt said, “if we didn’t get those books from Multnomah County.”

Some books are sold online, but they’ll be worth at least $20 before Book Nook volunteers will expend that much effort to gain revenue.

The Friends also are involved with the annual Christmas Basket program, giving books to be placed in each family’s basket.

There seems to be no end to the contributions the Friends group passes on to its beneficiaries, including the recent purchase of new furniture for the library’s children’s programs and offering free passes to many area cultural sites such as the Portland Art Museum and Oregon History Museum.

For more information on the Friends of the Sandy Library, call Hoyt when she’s at the library, 503-668-5537 or at home, 503-668-8623.