What a tough break for the Friends of the Lawrence Public Library.
After discovering that some of the books donated for its annual book sales were infested with bedbugs, the group made the difficult decision to cancel its fall book sale that was scheduled for later this month. It’s the right decision, of course, but it’s a difficult decision because the book sale is a major fundraiser for the group, which annually donates tens of thousands of dollars to support activities at the library.
It’s too bad that local residents won’t have an opportunity to sift through the stacks of donated books and pick up some bargains this month. The annual book sales, which are organized and staffed by many dedicated volunteers, are great community events that attract large crowds. The sales had been moved temporarily to the Douglas County Fairgrounds while the library is under construction, but in most years, the events are a great way to draw people to the library and perhaps get them interested in other library activities.
The Friends have temporarily quit taking book donations but are working to deal with the bedbug situation so they can be back in business in time for their spring sale. The community owes this group a huge “thank you” not only for their dedicated support of the Lawrence Public Library through the years, but also for making the responsible decision to cancel this fall’s sale rather than run the risk of spreading a bedbug infestation to their customers’ homes.
The Friends’ fall and spring book sales usually raise about $30,000, which represents a significant portion of the $70,000 the group gives to the library each year. That money helps pay for summer reading programs, author visits and other activities. Without that money some activities may need to be scaled back.
People who usually patronize the Friends sales won’t be spending any money on books at a sale this fall, but we’re sure this deserving organization would welcome additional donations to help it continue its financial support of important library events. The Friends have performed a great community service for many years; it’s time for the community to step up and help the organization through a difficult setback.