CHICO — Chico Friends of the Library is open for business once again.
The CFOL is a nonprofit group that receives book donations and sells them to benefit the Chico branch of the Butte County Public Library.
Nancy Leek, assistant book sale manager and Chico Friends of the Library board member, says the weekly book sale is happening again, which restarted in July 2021. The next sale will take place on July 9 from 9 am to 11:30 am in the meeting room adjacent to the library. The sale occurs every Saturday unless it is a holiday weekend.
All profits from book sales are used to support various library programs, many of which receive little or no other funding from the county. Books sell for $.25 – $2 each, far less than any other used bookstore in town, and CDs, DVDs, jigsaw puzzles, current magazines and VHS tapes can also be found on the sale tables. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the regular Saturday book sales went on hiatus, depriving the library of much needed funding. It wasn’t considered safe enough to resume book sales until this last July, and people got out of the habit of coming to the sales. According to a press release, book donations were also halted during that period.
Many of the people who volunteer at CFOL have done so for years.
Volunteer Helen Sutton, 87, is a book sale coordinator/manager and helps organize the sales. She is at the library for three to four hours daily, Monday through Friday. Sutton organizes everything and keeps the books moving.
Leek said she wanted to make sure people know that not only is the library open, but the book sale is also happening.
The Chico Friends of the Library program is always looking for volunteers. If interested in volunteering, pick up an application at the library front desk and indicate what tasks you are interested in. Volunteers can take on many different tasks, such as organizing books, pricing books and lifting boxes. The staff likes volunteers to work at least one day per week or for two hours every week.
Volunteers accept donations every weekday. Bags or other containers of books to be donated can be put on the Chico Friends of the Library cart, which is located in the library, or if there is a large donation, people can drop those off at the back door of the library.
The library is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 am to 6 pm, Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday 1 pm to 5 pm and is closed on Monday.
Sales from the book sale help acquire library books and support library programs such as summer reading for children and arts and crafts events.
Volunteers ask the public to not donate out-of-date medical or financial books and no encyclopedias, and if the box or bag of books has been sitting in a garage for a long time, for instance, be sure to clean it out and make sure there are no bugs inside and the books are clean.
Leek said volunteers like receiving textbooks. Books that haven’t sold for three months end up in the library lobby. The library also offers curbside pickup, so if someone is checking out a book and doesn’t want to come inside, it can be brought to them in the parking lot.
Volunteers are offered on-the-job training to ready themselves to volunteer. Sutton said having a love for books and a good knowledge of books is a plus.
Chico Friends of the Library also supports the Little Free Libraries. There are library volunteers who stock the little libraries.
“It’s a great place to go to get cheap books,” Leek said.
Chico Friends of the Library offers a wide variety of books, such as cookbooks, children’s books, fiction and nonfiction. Famous authors such as John Grisham, David Baldacci and Steven King get their own category, as people often ask for books by popular authors.