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Jacksonville book sales are no more

Jacksonville Friends of the Library book sales, started in 1995, have come to an end because the group is unable to find a good way to recycle the leftover volumes.

“We can’t donate them anymore, and they are not as easy to recycle,” said Joann Avery of the Friends of the Library. Help to run the sales also has declined.

The group had been boxing and shipping unsold books to Better World Books, which would sell them online. But Better World now requires that books be scanned in advance of shipping to determine whether they have value. The friends decided to not take that route because they would still have books to dispose of that Better World didn’t want.

Rogue Book Exchange used to pick up books, and Goodwill would also accept leftovers.

Friends of the Ruch Library is considering the Better World option for their sales leftovers, Avery said.

“We would have an awful lot of boxes left over. We had to recycle them after every book sale because we kept getting more and more donations,” said Avery.

Despite the introduction of electronic readers, income from the book sales remained steady, Avery said. Typically, each sale brought in between $900 and $1,100. Over the years the sales paid for library furniture, summer reading programs and expanded hours.

“We don’t need to come up with the money for hours since the bond issue passed,” said Avery. In 2014, voters county-wide approved establishment of a library district.

Loss of a key player in the effort also led to the decision. Gus Hughbanks, who did much of the work on the sales, resigned from the board, said Avery. Others who worked regularly on the sale include former Mayor Bruce Garrett, Terry Erdmann, Paula Brock Erdmann, Jim Holder and Avery’s husband, Richard.

Usually three or four book sales were held per year. One occurred during the city-wide garage sale, which takes place the second weekend of September. Another took place during a weekend of the Jacksonville Victorian Christmas celebrations. A third was usually held during the spring.

“Christmas time was always a good time. Sometimes it was the weekend of the parade and sometimes it wasn’t,” said Avery. “It was always nicer when we had more people in town.”

Since announcement of the end of the sale, the library has set up a book nook where volumes are placed with no set prices, and donations can be made for purchases.

In the mid-2000s the library moved from its former location in the city-owned Brunner Building on Oregon Street to its new location at 340 West C St. Sales had been held in the Odd Fellows Hall across the street from the Brunner.

“There was never room to do it in what is now the (senior center) thrift shop,” said Avery.

Other county friend’s groups still use book sales to benefit community libraries. Ashland Friends of the Library has an ongoing book sale in the library and a larger sale the last Wednesday of each month. Friends of the Medford Library operate a book shop in the building. The group will hold a one-day clearance sale from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 7.

Brainstorming is now going on to determine how the Friends may be able to assist the library in the future, said Avery. She can be reached at mailjoannavery@charter.net.

Tony Boom is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.