Stan Ring is thankful for the Lawrence book lovers who can’t bring themselves to throw away books.
The Friends of the Lawrence Public Library presented the library an oversized $100,000 check Saturday, representing the money the group raised through the sale of donated books and other materials in 2016.
In making the presentation, Ring, chairman of the friends group, said it would be remiss not to thank the Lawrence community for donating the raw material that made that largest-ever annual donation possible.
“I can’t believe all the books we take off the hands of people of Lawrence,” he said. “People don’t like to throw away books. I think it’s 5,000 a week. They come in all forms. We get brand new books in boxes, and we get trash.”
Handling the volume of books represents a lot of work for the Friends volunteers and library staff as they look up and scan every book that isn’t so far gone it’s recycled, Ring said. It’s worth it, because that process turns up books of considerable value that would otherwise be overlooked, he said.
The more rare and valuable donated books are now offered online on Amazon, Ring said.
“Amazon is growing,” he said. “It’s starting to match what we make off book sales.”
Friends could do even better on Amazon by offering more books online, but it has to balance its mission to make money for the library with its goal of getting reading materials in the hands of the public, Ring said.
With two universities in the community, library book sales had a reputation among very serious book buyers, he said. The Amazon offerings have accomplished the goal of making large annual book sales more manageable by removing the professional booksellers and collectors and restricting the events to families and readers, he said.
Friends of the Library was planning two new sales for 2017, Ring said. One would be a sale with bags full of books and the other a media sale of DVDs and CDs.
“We have a lot of those,” he said. “We’ve sold them at books sales, but this will be the first media sale.”
The $100,000 from 2017 will mostly be used for this year’s summer reading, children’s activities, Read Across Lawrence and other programming, said Lawrence Public Library Director Brad Allen. He and Ring said, however, $14,000 of the $100,000 would be used to install a concrete slab off the library’s southwest corner where grass doesn’t grow because of shade from an overhead cantilever.
Ring said the slab would make it easier to roll carts during book sales and allow safer and more efficient staffing.
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