Friends of the Guelph Public Library giant book sale searching for new home

After a two-year hiatus, the FGPL is looking to resume its annual book sale if it can find a location

The Friends of the Guelph Public Library (FGPL) is set to resume its annual book sale after a two-year hiatus providing the organization can find a space suitable to hold one of Ontario’s biggest book sales.

Previously, the FGPL book sale was held at a vacant factory space in The Ward owned by the Woods family, however, that space is unavailable for the FGPL this year.

“The organizing committee is keen to get going on this, and as I say, I can not put my foot out the door without someone telling how many boxes of books they have waiting for me,” said Virginia Gillham, chair of the Friends of the Guelph Public Library. “It’s just a matter of finding the space.”

The event’s growing popularity and the sheer volume of books collected means the minimum space required is a 20,000 square foot building, has parking, responsible good lighting, washroom facilities and a loading area suitable for trucks.

While the guidelines for a suitable space may be somewhat restrictive, Gillham is hopeful someone will lend the charitable organization a hand and offer up a space.

With an average year seeing over 100,000 books donated, the FGPL needs to lock down the space before June 1 to ensure the sorting and preparation for the autumn sale can go off without a hitch.

“The main reason I think we are so well known, why people come across the border and everything else, is our books are so well sorted,” said Gillham.

Sorting is a major undertaking for the organization, which typically begins Sept. 1 after a month of collecting books.

“We need to have the sale site confirmed no later than June 1 to allow planning to proceed, as hands-on sale preparation begins in early August,” reads a statement from the FGPL. “Time is, therefore, short for us to find another location. We hope there is someone reading this who has a connection that will assist us in our search. It would be disappointing in the extreme to have to cancel the sale after ten increasingly successful years. ”

The last two years saw the FGPL forced to cancel the book sale.

The annual sale has become an important revenue stream for the organization as the City of Guelph moves forward with the construction of a new library.

“The object was to make money for the new library, and it’s been very successful,” said Gillham. “After the last sale we had total profits put away over $ 900,000, and the stock market, as you know, went mildly nuts, so in fact, that’s over $ 1 million now.”

The book sale has been an annual autumn event since 2007.

The first sale was held in Old Quebec Street Mall. It lasted just one day and offered fewer than 20,000 books with a gross amount of $ 10,000 at the end of the day. Since then, each sale has been increasingly larger and more complex.

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