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Annual book sale held at The Plaza: Friends of the Ketchikan Public Library book sale to last all weekend

Daily News Staff Writer

The Friends of the Ketchikan Public Library is holding its annual book sale this weekend, and started with its kickoff on Friday.

On Friday afternoon, more than 30 tables laden with stacks of a wide array of books were lined up in The Plaza mall’s main floor. There also were tables with DVDs and CDs for shoppers to choose from. About 40 people browsed the selection, and kept volunteers at the cashier’s table busy.

Books are donated by locals throughout the year, dropped off at the library’s storage unit, number 620 at Bear Valley Mini Storage. The nonprofit group Friends of the Ketchikan Public Library runs the sale, as well as three one-day sales throughout the year, as a fundraiser for the library.

Friends of the Ketchikan Public Library president June Dahl said, by telephone, that on opening day, Friday, they’d already had more than one $100 sale.

“This is their winter reading,” Dahl said, adding, “This town seems to be full of readers.”

The funds are used for costs related to projects and items that the library needs, but that aren’t covered by funds provided by the local governments.

Dahl said that the money raised is used to support many projects, such as a recent installation of acoustic tiles in the conference room.

Volunteer and cashier Sis Coenen said Friday at the sale that the money also helps to support library programs such as the Teen Advisory Group and the summer reading program.

A new aspect of the book sale this year are that children’s picture books are offered free of cost.

“We want to get those books into the hands of those little guys,” Dahl said.

Library board member and volunteer Jeff Williams said, by telephone, that the idea for offering free children’s books was inspired by children’s services librarian Amanda Kiely, who had mentioned that the most important aspect of getting children to read more is simply “getting books in their hands.”

Williams said his biggest role is simply sorting more than 400 books by genre and general condition, before loading them and hauling them in about 17 truckloads to The Plaza. He said they always are looking for volunteers to help, because it is a huge task.

Coenen said that The Plaza manager Judy Zenge is an important supporter, as she not only donates the space for the sale, but also space to hold the books as they’re prepped and sorted.

Dahl said, “We could not do this without The Plaza.”

Friends of the library board member Carlen Williams, working the cashier table Friday with Sis Coenen, said that Boy Scouts help to set up the book sale on the evening before the opening day, as well as helping to clean up afterward.

Carlen Williams said that her motivation to volunteer was that it was a “way of giving back” after she and her children enjoyed the library for years.

An interesting aspect of this year’s sale, Jeff Williams said, is that more than 100 books were more than a century old, and many of the children’s books were printed in the 1960s.

Dahl said there is a dazzling array of genres to choose from, including books about Alaska, coffee-table art books — “something for everyone.”

    he book sale will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, downstairs at the Plaza mall. Books, CDs and DVDs cost $1 each, but from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, all items will be free.