Used book sale helps Friends support Hazel Park library

Deals on books, CDs and DVDs March 13-16, and bake sale March 16

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published March 4, 2013

HAZEL PARK — An abundance of books, less than $1 each, is only part of the appeal of the Hazel Park Memorial Library’s upcoming used book sale, organizers say.

Of greater value is the fact the proceeds fund free programming and new materials at the library, preserving its status as one of the community’s most valuable resources.

The sale offers many books, CDs and DVDs, some as low as 10 cents, and coincides with regular library hours: from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, March 13-14; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, March 15; and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 16.

March 16 is also Bag Day — fill a bag with as much as you want for only $3. There will be a bake sale from noon to 4 p.m. the same day, featuring donated goods from volunteers and local businesses. To contribute baked goods, drop them off at the library March 14-15, or at noon March 16.

The sales are organized by the Hazel Park Library Friends, a group of about 20 active volunteers and many more inactive ones paying dues: $5 a year for individual adult membership, $3 a year for youths, $10 a year for families, $50 a year for businesses, and a one-time $100 payment for lifetime membership.

Established in the mid-2000s, the Friends’ sole purpose is to maintain and enhance the library’s many offerings. The used book sale, for which they also volunteer time sorting and labeling materials, and set-up and take-down, is one moneymaking avenue; another is their perennial sale, as well as their candy sales around Mother’s Day and, more recently, Valentine’s Day.

They’ve also partnered with local businesses, like Coney Cravers last summer for a Library Day where a portion of the sales went to the Friends. There will also be a bowling night fundraiser at Hazel Park Bowl at 4 p.m. April 14. 

Beyond fundraising, the Friends are also advocates for the library, such as the time they helped educate the public about the library millage in the fall of 2011, spending hundreds of hours going door to door, passing out flyers and signs they made using their own money.

The Friends also invest time and labor for library garden cleanups each summer, assist with the summer reading program and also contribute to Crafts with Santa. A Friend volunteer usually makes popcorn every time the library shows a movie, as well.

The money they’ve raised has gone toward events like the summer reading picnic — paying for the bulk of the food — or making Santa’s visit to the library possible each year. The Library WishList subscription was also paid for by the Friends.

And now they’re looking to launch the Little Free Library Project, purchasing four used newsstand boxes that will be sanded, primed and painted with the help of the Department of Public Works. They will set them up around town to provide a free selection of books for people as they’re out and about town. 

Richard Robbins, a member of the Friends, said they’re hoping the boxes will be ready to roll out come April or May. Places under consideration include the Art Park on John R, Scout Park near Hazel Park Junior High, and the bus stops outside the library at Nine Mile and John R.

“It’s more along the lines of an outdoor library,” Robbins said. “The theory behind all of this is ‘take a book, leave a book,’ and if they decide to leave a book, feeding into the book supply, so much the better, right? We’re promoting literacy for everyone.” 

Another major contribution by the Friends has been the expansion of the library’s Arab-language collection. This was in response to a need the library discovered during their visits to senior living facilities, bringing books to those unable to get to the library.

“One of the senior facilities is at least 75 percent Chaldean; they don’t speak or read a lot of English, and the first few times we went, we had none (books written in Arabic), and so no one was checking anything out,” said Corrine Stocker, Hazel Park library director. “They expressed their desire to have materials written in Arabic, so we got seed money once, and then two more donations from the Friends, which we used to purchase the Arab-language books. And pretty much everything we have in Arabic is always checked out. 

“There are very few libraries that carry Arabic books, and residents in the senior facilities sometimes don’t have transportation to get to places that do,” she said. “We’ve been doing more and more outreach to bring library services to people we weren’t reaching before because we didn’t have what they need. So I think the Friends will be an invaluable resource going forward, helping to meet some of those needs.”

The Hazel Park Library Friends’ Used Book Sale will take place at Hazel Park Memorial Library, 123 E. Nine Mile, from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, March 13-14; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, March 15; and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 16. Saturday is also Bag Day — fill a bag for $3. The bake sale is at the library from noon to 4 p.m. March 16. For more information, call (248) 542-0940.