COLUMN: Getting creative with virtual book sales in Columbia City
Pandemics breed creativity, and during this past year, the Columbia City Community Library has had to get creative.
"We had to innovate in order to serve our patrons during this pandemic," says Cathy Lundberg, library director. "Our first responsibility is the safety of our patrons and volunteers, so following the strict state guidelines, we have remained open with reduced hours and protocols in place."
Because the library is free to everyone in Columbia County, the major funding for the library is the twice-yearly book sale. The pandemic caused the cancellation of both the September and April sales. As a very viable alternative, the library's used book shop, Secondhand Prose got creative and launched a monthly Virtual Book Sale.
January saw a "soft start" with an announcement in the Columbia City newsletter and an email mailing to approximately 500 library patrons. It was such a success that virtual sale postings for February and March proved that this was a viable option to having people inside to peruse the shelves for used books.
Of the nearly 80 hard back and paperback books listed each month, approximately one-third are of a featured genre, a third fiction, and a third non-fiction. The books are hand-selected by volunteers and are in excellent or very good condition. Those that are previous library books are also noted.
"We have been extremely pleased with the results so far," Kit Gardes, library volunteer, said. "It is a safe, easy and affordable way to find something new to read. All of our used books are priced at just $1 or $2."
Children and young adult books are also available for sale inside the library for 50 cents or $1.
There is a link to the Virtual Sale sheet on the library's website, columbiacitylibrary.com, and regular posts on Facebook. Orders are taken either via email or telephone, and pick-up is either in the library or curb-side. May's featured books are Mysteries.
Kit and Chip Gardes are volunteers for the Columbia City Community Library, a nonprofit, member-supported library that serves Columbia County residents.
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