Joseph Bernt

Joseph Bernt

Every Fourth of July morning for three decades, Cannon Beach residents and visitors, cups of java in hand, gather along Hemlock Street for two events—the Independence Day Parade and the Cannon Beach Library’s Annual Fourth of July Weekend Book Sale—traditional events that transform this popular beach community into Oregon’s iconic all-American small town.

Last year, as hundreds of early arrivals jockeyed for prime real estate along the downtown parade route, others—having reserved their spot with folding chairs—waited at 9:30 a.m. for library doors to open on the first day at what has become among the largest used-book sales on the Oregon coast.

This year, the parade coincides with the first day of the Cannon Beach Library’s major book sale of the year so the crowd waiting before the doors open will be large, anticipating the first chance to uncover the best deals.

The sale runs from Thursday, July 4, through Sunday, July7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The library will close Wednesday, July 3, to organize this massive sale. Although the popular book-sale room will remain open during the sale, most library services will be unavailable until Monday, July 8.

Library Board Member Janet Bates chairs a committee of volunteers that prices thousands of books that residents, visitors and library patrons donate throughout the year. She expects this year’s sale to surpass last year’s record contribution to the library’s annual budget. The sale includes all donated books except those added to the library’s collection or those few placed in its always open book-sale room.

“This year’s fundraiser offers thousands of novels, mysteries, biographies, histories, children’s books, rare and old books and cooking, art and coffee-table books at bargain-basement prices,” Bates says of the books her committee has met every Tuesday morning to sort, clean, price, box and store for this annual event.

“To the thousands of popular fiction and nonfiction books donated this past year,” Bates notes, “this sale also includes first editions, autographed copies and rare old books overlooked during our Third Annual Memorial Day Weekend Rare & Old Book Sale.”

Bates urges those looking for “great books in great condition at great prices” to arrive early and return on subsequent days. As books sell, library volunteers will refill sales tables,” she says. “These volunteers often discount prices on CDs, videos or popular paperback series, even offering items for free throughout the sale. We aim to sell out everything no matter what it takes by 5 p.m. on Sunday.”

 Library Board President Phyllis Bernt stresses that the Cannon Beach Library, unlike most community libraries, operates as a private, member-owned, nonprofit organization. “With only a small subsidy from the city, this library truly is special, even amazing,” she argues.

“Staffed by more than ninety library volunteers and one part-time paid office manager and supported by numerous fundraising events and appeals, our library provides important current fiction and nonfiction, e-books, interlibrary loan services, Wi Fi and computing services and meeting space for Cannon Beach and Arch Cape residents and visitors six days a week.”

Fully aware of how much this major sale contributes for the purchase of new books, Bernt still emphasizes how this event reflects the local support that established the Cannon Beach Library in 1927 and has seen it flourish during the following ninety-one years.

“The success of this sale every year reminds me of how rooted in and dependent on volunteerism Cannon Beach remains today.”

The library still needs help and seeks new members. Bernt encourages anyone interested in volunteering at the Fourth of July Weekend Book Sale to telephone 503-436-1391 or email info@cannonbeachlibrary.org and leave their contact information.

“We especially now need help with set up on Wednesday, July 3, and with cashiering, bagging and restocking tables during the sale.”

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