Each year for the past several, the Friends of the Columbia Public Library  have said they won’t be able to top their previous donation. Each year, however, they seem to do just that. This year, the group donated $70,000 to the library, topping last year’s gift of $64,000!
The all-volunteer group sorts through books and other materials donated by the public. Books in good condition that would enhance the library’s collection are added to our shelves—about $26,000 worth last year. Much of what is donated to the Friends is resold at sales held at the library or on eBay.
Books are on sale every Tuesday in the lobby, at special large sales like the ones coming up in March and April and in groups by theme on the first Tuesday of every month. Starting March 18, Tuesday lobby sales will also have evening hours, 5-7 p.m., in addition to the afternoon hours of noon-3 p.m. Books that do not sell but are in good condition are donated to a number of local organizations, including senior centers, clinics and hospitals.
The Friends keep a tally of their volunteer hours, and the story those numbers tell is quite impressive. Last year, 23 members of the Friends spent 4,300 hours hauling, sorting and selling donations. In all, they sorted through an estimated 150,000 books. Counting both the monetary donation and the value of the materials added to the library’s collection, the Friends earned $22.40 an hour for the library!
With last year’s donation, we purchased $40,000 in books and materials. The rest of the gift was used to purchase display units, special projects and support One Read events and advertising.
You can help your library’s Friends group!
Each DBRL library has a Friends group: Columbia , Callaway  and Ashland . The Friends resell books and raise money for the libraries, and they depend on dedicated volunteers and generous donations of time and materials.
- Donate gently used hardback or paperback books, videos, music CDs, audiobooks and DVDs (no magazines, please).
- Volunteer your time. (The Columbia Friends especially need volunteers to work two-hour shifts loading and unloading books before large sales.)
- Shop at their book sales in the libraries or, in the case of the Columbia Friends, on eBay .