Every year, book aficionados mark their calendars for three Friends of the Cherry Hill Public Library book sales during the year.
The next one takes place July 21 through 23. Library Director Laverne Mann describes the sales as vibrant and energetic, and notes that one of their distinguishing features is how well the books are organized.
“We have a very dedicated group of Friends of the Library that curate all the donations and they sort them into genre categories, mystery or age level, like children or teens, or multimedia,” Mann said. “There are CDs, there are audio books, there are antiquarian books.
“People come from all over just to come to our book sale, because they know they’re going to get the best quality and sorted.”
Preparing for the book sale is a year-round process. Mann estimates that the library may receive as few as a couple hundred books and as many as 10,000. Donated books are either added to the collection or prepared for the next sale. When there are no sales, there are carts around the library with materials available for purchase.
“Friends of the volunteers curate the books, but they also weed out books that might be a little moldy, dingy or damaged,” said Suzanne Fox, marketing and PR coordinator for the library. “Because people sometimes just pull a box out of the garage and they don’t realize the quality of the books has deteriorated, so we only put out the best of the best and we always encourage people to donate new or gently used items.”
While the book sales are great for readers, they’re also beneficial to the library because they account for a significant portion of its budget. That allows the facility to provide community programs such as author and artists events; the recent purchase of a 3D printer; and the museum pass program, where families can borrow passes for local museums at no cost.
To get a head start on the book sale, Friends of the Library provides early access on July 20 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The cost is $10 a year to become a Friend of the Library and $8 for seniors, but memberships can be purchased on the spot.
On July 21, stop by the conference center in the lower level of the library from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to check out more than 20,000 books, movies, CDs and other materials. Hardbacks are $2, paperbacks are $1 and on Saturday, people can bring their own bag – limited to a grocery store size – and fill it for $5.