Bargain Books Become Bestsellers

CPL Friends book sale

The largest sale of the year at the Columbia Public Library is in September; over 33,000 books and other items were set out for sale last year.


CPL Friends book sale

Kathy Hill, Slick Simmons and Nola Garner of the Callaway Friends present a donation to Callaway Library District board president Mary Fennel and library manager Greg Reeves.

From fiction and biographies to children’s literature and DVDs, shoppers discover fabulous finds at their libraries’ book sales. In 2009, the Friends of the Library groups in Columbia, Callaway County and Southern Boone County raised more than $90,000 from selling used books, music and videos. That’s a sizable sum that went toward the purchase of $43,500-worth of new books and other library materials, covered some of the costs of the One Read and Summer Reading programs, funded new furnishings and more.

The Friends groups have raised money for their respective libraries through book sales for over 40 years. In the last decade, the amount raised has more than tripled. How did book sales grow from raising $25,000 in 2002 to the impressive figure in 2009? While quarterly book sales still generate the most revenue, regular monthly and weekly sales add to the coffers. In Columbia, weekly Tuesday afternoon and Saturday morning book sales in the library lobby have proven popular. The Callaway County Public Library began hosting monthly lobby sales as well. Patrons in Ashland can browse titles for sale anytime during open hours. Books deemed of significant value generate more income being sold on eBay. One title fetched as much as $400.

Members of the Friends groups work year-round sorting the books you donate and assessing their condition. Books in good condition that would enhance the library’s collection are added to the shelves. Others find their way to the book sales. Last fall, shoppers perused 33,000 titles at the Columbia Public Library’s annual fall book sale. Volunteers distributed the remaining unsold inventory to other organizations like Boys and Girls Town and retirement communities.

Upcoming book sales

Callaway County Public Library
  • Lobby sales: 4:30-6:30 p.m.: May 27, June 24, August 26
  • Big sales: July 17, 9 a.m.-Noon (Pre-sale July 16)
Columbia Public Library
  • Weekly sales: Tue., Noon-3 p.m. & Sat. 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • First Tuesday theme sales: Noon-7 p.m., June 1, July 6, August 3
  • Annual fall sale: September 11-13
Friends of the Southern Boone County book sale room

In Ashland, you can purchase books in the Friends Book Sale Room anytime during regular hours.

Find sale dates in your local newspaper, ask at the library front desk or visit the Friends’ web sites (see below). At the library in Ashland, you can purchase books in the Friends Book Sale Room anytime during regular hours.

Donate items to the Friends

Bring gently used hardback books, paperbacks, children’s books, videos, music CDs, audiobooks and DVDs (no magazines, please) to your library during open hours. For large donations, please call ahead to make an appointment.

Become a Friend of your library

Pick up an application at your library or online:


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