Bags of books fuel fundraiser

HOUGHTON – The Friends of the Van Pelt and Opie Library are holding their annual book sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Memorial Union Ballroom on the Michigan Technological University campus. Members of Friends of the Library will be able to attend a special pre-sale from 5-7 p.m. today.

Dana Richter, Friends of the Library board member, is excited about the number of books for sale this year.

“We take donations all year long and we try to make it a quality book sale,” Richter said. “We probably have about a hundred boxes of books.”

Richter estimates there will be around 5,000 books for sale at the event, with up to 30 tables representing different categories. Prices are generally uniform across all categories with hardcovers priced at $2, softcovers at $1 and small paperbacks at 50 cents. Some special books can be sold for more than the standard fee.

This year, the sale will also include a selection of withdrawn books. The withdrawn books are those that had belonged to the library but have been pulled out of circulation to be sold to the public.

“Libraries have all sorts of books, stacks and stacks, but as they get older and new editions come out or they don’t get used very often the library draws them out of circulation and sells them to the public,” Richter said.

The withdrawn books will be added to the sale Wednesday morning because they must be offered to the public, not to any special group.

“There will be a lot of new books on Wednesday that even the members won’t have seen,” he said.

The book sale is a major fundraiser for the Friends of the Library and the proceeds all go toward funding various needs of the J. Robert Van Pelt and Opie Library at Michigan Tech. The funding contributes to a wide array of library needs and services, including research grants, a speakers program, computer upgrades and new furniture or shelving. They recently purchased a large map scanner for $6,000 using funds made primarily from last year’s book sale, according to Richter.

For the last hour of the sale, from 3-4 p.m. on Wednesday, community members can partake in a bag sale, during which customers can fill a shopping bag with selections from the remaining books for only $5. With a selection of thousands of books, Richter is certain there will be something for everyone.

“We don’t even know what they all are yet,” said Richter. “There will be surprises for everybody.”