With Apple’s recent launch of the new iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, it is clear that we live in a technology dependent world. However, in this world of screens and social media, there is still a vast importance for literature and books, which is realized by the community through the Lake Forest Library’s annual Friends of the Lake Forest Library Book Sale.
This year marks the 43rd Annual Friends sale for the library, which is being held from Sept. 13-16. But although the sale has been going on for many years, that doesn’t mean the event has always looked the same. When it began in 1975, the book sale was a much smaller affair which was held in the foyer of the library. As it expanded, the sale moved across the street to the parking lot, where the books were displayed under a yellow and white striped tent. After being held in Market Square for a few years as well, the book sale was finally moved to the LF Rec Center, where it is currently taking place.
The Friends Book Sale is the largest sale that the library holds each year, and the second largest in the entire Midwest.
“There’s only one other book sale in the whole Midwest that’s bigger than ours, and that’s in St. Louis,” said Mrs. Sande Noble, who is a member of the Friends of the Lake Forest Library and an organizer of the book sale.
This year, there are around 3200 boxes of books being sold at the event, all of which were donated by people from the Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Knollwood areas. When these books are dropped off at the library as donations, it is the responsibility of the library’s volunteers (the Friends of the Lake Forest Library) to sort, categorize, and price them. This is why, although the event only spans four days, preparation for the sale is really a year-long process.
The entire book sale is completely run by volunteers who have a passion for reading and for bettering the library and the community.
“Every year this is a ‘reunion’ of Friends and past friends and volunteers who come together to make this happen,” said Mrs. Nancy Mieling, who is also a Friend and an organizer of the book sale, “There are many of the approximately 250 volunteers who have been a part of this for years, and continue to show up and help.”
“Our mission is the library, so our money goes to the library,” said Mrs. Noble, explaining how the money raised by the book sale is used to fund programs and renovations at the library.
“Almost 2.5 million has been raised exclusively through the sale and donated back to the library,” said Mrs. Mieling, “Everything from renovating the Children’s Library, the Business Room, the Media Lab, to finishing off the original landscaping plan, restoring the wonderful artwork, restoring the windows, and paying for programming for all ages.”
As well as using the money raised from the sale to benefit the community through the library, most of the books that aren’t sold during the sale are donated to charities such as the McHenry County Defenders. Any of the books that are not donated are saved for the Friends public reading shelves.
“We have books down at the beach and at the train station that people can just borrow,” said Mrs. Elaine Hughes, another Friend of the library, “Otherwise everything just goes to charity.”
The Friends Book Sale contributes to the community in countless ways, from providing people with books and spreading knowledge, to donating to charity and improving the library itself even further. Mrs. Noble also believes that the book sale is a true community project:
“What it’s all about is we have adults and kids involved in working on a project for the library, getting reading material out to people who want it– that’s what it’s all about. It’s a community thing that’s so amazing.”