The Friends of the Billings Public Library had been planning to conduct book sales in the new library this spring, summer and fall.
That was until the move was made to the new library in February and the group took stock of the used books still in its possession.
“We were kind of shocked when we got here and found out how few books we had,” said Nancy Traeger, book sale chairman for the Friends.
That prompted a couple of decisions. One was to cancel the spring and summer book sales and to schedule the first one for next fall. The other was to supplement the weekly book-donation days with a big push on one day.
That day is Saturday, April 26, when the Friends will be conducting a book drive in the old Underriner/Volvo building at Sixth Avenue North and North 30th Street, a block west and across the street from the new library.
People are invited to bring their book donations to that location from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Books of almost all kinds will be accepted — no encyclopedias or magazines, please — and children’s books are especially needed.
The Friends used to hold book sales on the empty third floor of the old library. Before the new library opened, the final sales were held last spring and summer. The Friends, needing to clear out the third floor, sold almost everything but 30 huge boxes of books — mostly out-of-date technical works, badly damaged volumes and excess copies of very popular fiction — that were taken away for recycling.
They were left with just 30 smaller boxes of books, mainly what remained from the room full of rare and collectible books. Most of those books are in a storage unit in the Heights and will be moved downtown for the fall sale.
Corrina Graham Martin, president of the Friends, said they will have use of the Underriner building for a couple of days after the sale, which will give volunteers a chance to sort and pack books, which will then be kept in storage until the fall sale.
That sale will be sometime in October in the new library’s Community Room, and eventually the Friends hope to have spring, summer and fall sales, which has been the practice at the relatively new Bozeman Public Library.
Just don’t look for the tens of thousands of books that used to be found on the third floor of the old library.
“We’re by no means thinking we’re going to have the size of the sale we had before,” Martin said.
Meanwhile, the Friends are still running a Book Nook next to the Sweet Café on the ground floor of the new library. It features a few hundred used books that may be purchased at the coffee counter.
The Friends’ work room, just off the Book Nook, has some shelving and a large table where volunteers sort donations. Donated books can be dropped off in the Book Nook every Monday and Wednesday from 10 to 11:30 a.m., and during the same hours on the second Saturday of each month.
Proceeds from the book sales support literacy programs and library collections, services and programs.