Raising $$ for the Library

Decorated library pre-opening
Our library held it's 10th annual Give-a-Gift (referred to by staffers, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as GAG) fundraiser last night and it was an unbelievable success. We pre-purchased and processed over 600 books for all ages; decorated the library  (and ourselves) in an elegant style in a mere 3 hours; arranged for evening-long catered finger foods and celebratory champagne along with the traditional wine and lemonade. Then we opened the doors from 4-7 pm for people to come in and purchase the books for the library.

People come in, peruse the books and choose ones they will "donate" to the library. Each book has a tag with author, title and barcode that they fill out with their donor info and a book plate inscription. We put the book on a cart and they take the tag to the purchase area and pay for it.  The tag info is subsequently used to generate a bookplate, reserve the book for the donor and generate a thank you letter with tax exempt information. The laden book carts return to Tech Services at the end of the night to be dealt with in coming weeks.

An adult area display
The community always comes out in force but this time....well, we sold out of every book after 2.5 hours. Usually we sell maybe 60-70% of the books. To say the staff was giddily stunned would be an understatement. As the books were purchased at a mad pace, staffers kept closing down displays and shoring up remaining ones with stock. Every kind of book for every age sold, sold and sold.

We had advertised heavily because we wanted to hit an overall goal of raising $150,000 worth of books being sold during the ten years we've held the event. It clearly paid off. We won't get the final numbers until next week...but no books left - that's gotta be good.

A children's area display
The preparation for the event is pretty massive. Planners meet monthly year round to get ducks in line - from fancy invites, to live music and food and beverage choices. Selectors start buying stock in late May and the Technical Services dept catalogs and processes them all. After the night, they generate bookplates with donor's inscription and reserve the books so donor's get first check-out privileges.

Most of our crack YS team
In general, it's a very tough event - while good things happen, staffers often gag at GAG - so much work and effort in the months before and after. Decorating, breaking down and working the event in an eight hour span are all exhausting. But it also builds staff camaraderie and teamwork.  There is laughter and compliments  and the pleasure of working on a front-line crazy busy event.  Probably, most important for me, is a feeling that can't be beat when the public - from all income levels and age groups - comes in and buys books to thank us for our work. That warms my heart and keeps me willing to do this crazy thing!

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