Book sales raises funds for key library services

“Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul” is the topic of an upcoming Cannon Beach Reads discussion.

Located downtown for 90 years, the Cannon Beach Library became the “heart of Cannon Beach,” rather than merely a “beach read” source. Acting six days a week as an information hub, the library welcomes residents and visitors, answering questions about shops, restaurants, events and services. Visitors access Wi-Fi, the internet, computers and printers, and are as likely to ask directions to the library’s book-sale room, Haystack Rock or the ocean as to the library catalog.

During the past month, the critical importance to the library of fundraising and volunteers, particularly those who prepared and staffed the recent Second Annual Memorial Weekend Rare and Old Book Sale, impressed this columnist. Last month’s special book sale succeeded beyond expectations, raising $2,447.

More recently, volunteers are preparing for the tsunami of book sales, the library’s traditional Fourth of July Book Sale, this year scheduled for Wednesday., July 4, through Saturday, July 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Cannon Beach Library, 131 N. Hemlock.

Last year, this sale saw book lovers, coffee in hand, queue before doors opened. Only the community’s archetypal Independence Day Parade, passing the library on Hemlock, momentarily slowed the buying frenzy that raised nearly 10 percent of the library’s annual budget. Volunteers anticipate a similar rush of early buyers this July 4 seeking gently read bestsellers, buyers who usually return later as volunteers refill tables with new books at drastically reduced prices.

Cannon Beach and Arch Cape residents and visitors generously contribute their books to expand library holdings or stock fundraisers and the Library’s book-sale room. However, without dedicated volunteers to staff the library, organize fundraising events and serve the informational needs of residents and visitors, Cannon Beach could not maintain this rare library still operating as a private, member-owned, nonprofit organization.

During three days of the Rare and Old Book Sale, 10 volunteers—library board secretary Janet Bates; library president Phyllis Bernt; library board members Rance Babb, Claire Landrum, Lynne Murray and Ken Quarles; and Library Members Marc Bates, Kathe Leduc, Jane Swynenburg and Judy Wood — moved hundreds of books, organized sale tables, priced late-arriving books, helped hundreds of customers, served as cashiers, bagged purchases and managed the desk to ensure library services continued uninterrupted.

With the Fourth of July Book Sale in sight, seven volunteers on the library pricing committee — Janet Bates, Joseph Bernt, Amy Jones, Mary Kerwin, Tom Landrum, Nancy McCarthy and Ellen Miller, assisted by Marc Bates and Doug Wood — spent Tuesday mornings this past year pricing, categorizing, boxing and storing thousands of donated books. These volunteers will be joined during the July 4 sale by teams of library board members, library members, patrons and residents who every year volunteer as cashiers, baggers and, as Marc Bates calls them, “book wranglers,” who sort and replenish sales tables. For this massive book sale, the library will close Tuesday, July 3, to organize the sale; most library services, other than the book-sale room, will not resume until Monday, July 9.

Besides fundraising and desk duties, library volunteers perform other vital albeit less visible tasks. New and current books—purchased with book sale proceeds — must be ordered, catalogued, covered, labeled and shelved. Shelf readers must keep books in order, and books no longer popular must be removed to make room for new titles. Computer networks must be maintained. Fundraising events and author presentations must be publicized.

To volunteer at the library, email or call 503-436-1391, leave your contact information, and make immediate friends by volunteering for the Fourth of July book sale. Volunteers are essential and still needed for sale setup on July 3 and as Book Wranglers during the four-day sale.

Marjorie MacQueen, a library desk volunteer, also orders new books every month to add to the library’s collection. Marjorie’s order for last month, just arrived. Six new fiction, eight new mystery, and five new nonfiction books await patrons’ reading enjoyment.

Finally, note that Cannon Beach Reads will discuss Kenneth Miller’s “Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul” at 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 20, at the Cannon Beach Library. This book promises an animated conversation stimulated by homemade cookies and coffee. Anyone interested is encouraged to participate.


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