Thursday, April 27, 2017

Friends Bookstore Volunteers Celebrated during National Volunteer Week

by Pat B. Rumore
Rumore received a 2016 Library Champions award from the Jefferson County Public Library Association and is a Friend of the Birmingham Public Library

Friends Bookstore manager Thracie Pace (center) with two college students
out during the annual holiday sale while on Christmas break. They began
volunteering at the bookstore 
while attending Minor High School.

This week has been National Volunteer Week. The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) and its Friends Foundation annually celebrate the approximately 100 volunteers who serve throughout our library system by sponsoring a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon, held this year at the Central Library.

Today we're spotlighting our largest group of volunteers, a team of about 25 people who operate the Friends Bookstore at the Central Library under the leadership of Thracie Pace and the Friends Council of BPL's Friends Foundation.

The bookstore sells or donates books, movies, and music which have been removed from the library's permanent collection, usually because there are too many copies or they have stopped circulating. The bookstore also receives donations of used books from individuals and groups who are reducing their collections.

Volunteers Hope Cooper and Pat Rumore sorting donations
Volunteers receive the donations and go through them to ensure that the books or other materials are in an acceptable condition to sell or donate to other organizations. They price the materials, then put them out for sale on bookstore shelves. The bookstore volunteers man the counter to ring up sales, not only of books, videos, DVDs, and CDs, but also snack foods and drinks, Friends T-shirts, and materials such as library book bags, pens, pads, thumb drives, headphones, and other things patrons might need during a visit to the library. The bookstore is open six days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and its two shifts a day are manned by volunteers.

Thracie Pace, the bookstore's manager, highlights the impact of the bookstore and its volunteers beyond just the library:

On a monthly basis the Friends Bookstore donates as many as three boxes of books to our senior communities, including Episcopal Place, Greenbrier, and St. Martin's. Many of these lovely seniors have no way to get new reading materials other than by these donations. The Friends Bookstore also delivers books to underfunded schools such as Lipscomb Elementary, which in turn shares these books with other needy schools. The Friends Bookstore actually helps these schools build their own school libraries. Both students and teachers appreciate the donated books, which help in their educational and social development.

Youth Department Head Vincent Solfronk (left) and Pastor
Allen Davis with a load of children's books donated by the

Bookstore volunteers pick up book donations from the handicapped and elderly as well as donation pickups from churches and businesses. If someone needs help getting a donation to the bookstore, we make sure it happens.

Our volunteer program at the bookstore is its own community as well. We have volunteers from ages eight to eighty, and each will tell you how much they enjoy and appreciate their time in the Friends Bookstore. I have worked with high school seniors who've gone on to college but return on breaks to put in an hour or two in the bookstore! Our older volunteers appreciate that shifts are only 4 hours long and available weekly or monthly. This is but a bit of what the Friends Bookstore accomplishes on a regular basis.

Flip through boxes of vinyl, browse through shelves of all
genres, and even do your holiday shopping at the Friends
If you are interested in supporting the Friends Foundation or volunteering at the bookstore, visit us on the first floor of the Central Library and let us know.
Contact Thracie Pace at 205-⁠587-⁠2221 or for information about the bookstore or about how to become a volunteer.

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