Community supports Eugene Public Library; 36th annual book sale at Lane Events Center

An estimated 3,000 people attended the Friends of the Eugene Public Library book sale April 12 and 13.Photo: Laura Newman

An estimated 3,000 people attended the Friends of the Eugene Public Library book sale April 12 and 13.
Photo: Laura Newman

The Lane Events Center was consumed with books April 12 and 13 for Friends of Eugene Public Library’s 36th annual Book Sale.

Ian McVay, an attendee, said he looks forward to this event every year because of the vast selection of fiction the event continues to have.

Thousands of community book lovers attended this event and took advantage of the massive collection. Books ranged from $1 to $2 and covered a variety of different subjects and genres.

Barbara Morgan and Nancy Purtill have collectively volunteered with this organization for over seven years. This type of volunteer opportunity does not entirely consist of working this particular sale. It is a year-long commitment.

“We work all winter, September up until the end of March,” Purtill said. “On different days, depending on what we’ve chosen to do, we sort books by subject matter and then some books are picked out to be individually priced.”

Several Lane students were involved at the book sale this year, with only a three-day responsibility.

The donated books come from a variety of different places, some are donated through estate sales, others are called in for larger collections or library discards.

“They’re all community donations,” Morgan said. “People donate to the library. There’s a  big donation box in the lobby of the (downtown) Library.”

Friends of the Eugene Libary works closely with St. Vincent de Paul, a local thrift shop. St. Vincent leases a warehouse in which donated books are stored throughout the year, and they also donate vehicles for pickup and event transportation. In return, the leftover books are given to the thrift shop to be sold.

Sandy Ludeman, Chairwoman of Friends of the Eugene Public Library said she was amazed at the turnout and growth of the sale.

“Yesterday we had close to 3,000 (people). But then of course when you have this lovely weather, it’s hard to wheel people in from their garden,” she said.

This organization fundraises for the Eugene Public Library,  which allows the Library to host programs and events such as author talks, The Big Read, and summer literacy events for children.

“To me, why this is important and why what we do is important is I think of ourselves as an extension of educating the community in a variety of ways,” Ludeman said. “The library is another educational tool point, obviously, but beyond people thinking they check books out there or videos, they are learning things from these various programs.”

Ludeman claims that within the last three years the Friends of the Eugene Public Library has raised an estimated $100,000 for the library program, the largest annual revenue source.

“It is the biggest. It brings in the largest amount of money that we give back to the library, but I think it’s important to know that we exist year round,” she said.

Second Hand Prose, a second hand book store run by this organization, has become a permanent staple at the downtown library. Online sales on are also a new avenue they have taken in order to fundraise year-round.