If you think you’ve read this headline before, you’re correct. We’ve had the privilege of boasting about record-breaking donations from the Friends for five years in a row now! This year, Friends president Debbora Jones will present to the library a check for a whopping $82,000.
The Friends’ simple formula of collecting used books and reselling them at super-low prices has not changed. Indeed, Jones says she expected lower totals given the downturn in the economy, but their donation this year actually exceeds last year’s record high mark  by $12,000.
“I’ll tell you, the thrill of these announcements does not wear off!” said library director Melissa Carr. “I’m so amazed at this wonderful group of volunteers, exceeding their own efforts year after year. They are such a hard-working, fun group and we just really appreciate how much they do for the library.”
Each year uncounted thousands of used books, audiobooks, CDs, videos and DVDs are dropped off at the library for sorting by the Friends. Most of them are resold for $1, 50¢ or even 25¢ at public book sales. Jones notes that they have tried to keep the costs very affordable. Basic prices haven’t changed in over 10 years, though some more valuable items are sold individually priced for a few dollars more, and a select few items are sold at eBay auctions and special sales.
Some titles the Friends sort through are found to be in very good shape and make useful additions to the library’s collection. Over 2,000 donated items were added to the collection last year, with an estimated total value of $41,500.
All of this comes at the hands of just a small group of volunteers. Fewer than 25 core members spend thousands of total hours, sorting, hauling, repairing and selling at four large weekend sales, monthly themed First Tuesday sales, weekly Tuesday lobby sales and on eBay . This past year was a particularly tough one for these volunteers, too, as they’ve mourned the passing of three longtime members of their group. All of the Friends and the whole DBRL staff greatly miss the work and good humor of Merna Sneed, her husband Carl and the indomitable Gay Hawley.
If you’d like to help the Friends group at your library, you can do so by donating gently used books, CDs, videos and DVDs, volunteering your time, or shopping at their sales. Get more information and find out about upcoming book sales from the Columbia , Callaway County  and Southern Boone County  Friends on their individual sites.