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Arts & Culture

For the first time in two years, the Friends of the Boise Public Library are having an indoor book sale

Thousands of books line tables and shelves in the giant old warehouse
Samantha Wright
/
Boise State Public Radio
The old warehouse (shown here) is no longer available so the Friends of the Boise Public Library are holding book sales in the downtown library auditorium.

The Friends of the Boise Public Library is holding their first indoor used book sale in two years Thursday through Saturday. Despite struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic and space issues, the volunteer group is still raising funds for Boise’s library system.

“It’s been two years, we are so excited,” said Diana Cross, one of the Friends of the Boise Public Library, who can’t wait for the return of indoor sales. It’s been a rough couple of years for the nonprofit.

“And it’s been so exciting to see the enthusiasm of our customers, our regular customers that have been waiting for this moment,” Cross said.

When COVID-19 officially came to Idaho in March of 2020, state and local officials curtailed non-essential gatherings. That was just a month before The Friends’ big spring sale, which was cancelled.

The group also lost access to a giant warehouse across from the downtown library when it was sold for redevelopment. Since then, The Friends have held online auctions, small outdoor sales and have recently reopened their small bookstore, Tree City Books, inside the library.

“So, we are starting to recover some ground. We don’t expect to achieve the numbers we have in past years, but sales have been good,” according to Cross.

"I think there's definitely a hunger for book sales."
Diana Cross, Friends of the Boise Public Library

The Friends have made a deal with the library to use its auditorium for at least two big sales a year, which solved the space issue. And they’ve made several changes because of COVID-19. Only 50 people at a time can be in the space. Everyone must wear face masks. No stockpiling books. And The Friends won’t hand out their familiar shopping baskets.

“We’re not going to have those available because we’d have to be spraying them after every use and all that so bring your own bag or rolling cart or whatever if you can,” saids Cross.

Diana Cross sorts used books on a rolling cart. Large cardboard boxes full of books line the walls behind her.
Samantha Wright
Diana Cross with the Friends of the Boise Public Library sorts children's books for a sale in 2015.

She says throughout the pandemic, the desire for good used books has never stopped.

“I think there’s definitely a hunger for book sales and we keep hearing about the supply chain problems this year, that there may be ships out in the harbor that can’t land so if you’re looking for books, this is the place to come. And you're supporting the library at the same time.”

The book sale runs through Saturday in the auditorium of the Boise Public Library’s main downtown branch. Cross says there will be tons of books for sale, along with CDs and DVDs.

Over the last 50 years, the Friends of the Boise Public Library has raised more than $3 million to buy books, fund programs and build facilities for the library.