Library Friends calling on ‘muscle’ to save book sale

Library Friends calling on ‘muscle’ to save book sale

The Friends of the Oliver Library desperately need two or three able-bodied people to help save their annual book sale. (File photo)

By Lyonel Doherty

Juliana, Niko and Milo Nunes are all smiles after they stock up on many children’s books at the summer book sale hosted by the Friends of the Oliver Library. But the sale will be in jeopardy if new volunteers don’t step forward. (File photo)

The Friends of the Oliver Library need a little “muscle” to help save its annual book sale from extinction.

The group requires individuals who can physically lift boxes of books and take them to and from a storage locker.

Coordinators Jane Noonan and Lynne Hunt are hoping to find two or three people to take over the coordination by volunteering one or two hours a week over a six-month time period. This commitment is needed to gather up the donated books from the library and take them to storage where they are sorted into categories.

“The actual prep work for it takes six months (starting in January),” Noonan said.

The books come from all sources, including private estates.

“We’ve been known to fill an SUV from one donation,” Noonan said.

She pointed out what makes their sale so special is all of the books are donated, none are discards from the library. Therefore, you can find nearly new books for a great price (50 cents for softcover and $1 for hardcover).

Noonan said the Friends decided to do the sale on their own without the involvement of the Okanagan Regional Library. This move has proven to be more economical for the Friends. One highlight is the Oliver Legion donates its hall for the sale.

Hunt said a lot of their patrons will buy an arm load of books, read them over the winter and give them back to the Friends for the sale.

Noonan said the donation chain continues after the sale when the Friends donate leftover books to the Diabetes Clothesline program. In fact, over the last two years the Friends have donated approximately 14,000 pounds of books, Noonan said. The Diabetes Clothesline sells these books by weight to organizations like Value Village.

The Friends accept good quality softcover and hardcover books, but do not take encyclopedias, textbooks, magazines or bibles.

“It’s surprising how many, perhaps younger family members will clear out their grandparent’s house and we get the family bible. It’s . . .sad really but we don’t really want them,” Hunt said.

The Friends’ biggest client every year is The Book Shop in Penticton that buys many books at the sale.

But Noonan said the Friends have challenges in keeping the book sale alive.

“Our group is aging, we’re not getting any younger,” she noted, adding the physical demands are now beyond the capability of the backs of members.

Noonan said they are not recruiting younger members, understanding that families are very busy.

“We really have to rethink the whole thing about the book sale, our members just can’t do it anymore,” Hunt said.

Noonan said they are desperate.

“If we cannot find people out in the community to help us, we’re not sure what form if any the book sale will take.”

All of the proceeds from the book sale, now in its 21styear, goes to support the children’s Summer Reading Club and furniture for the library.

Anyone interested in volunteering to help save the book sale can contact Noonan at 250-408-4150 or Hunt at 250-498-2744. Or email