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Library News

Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale Defies Pandemic;
Shoppers Help Raise $143,154.11

The coronavirus pandemic canceled many special events this year, but the Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale carried on, hitting the sixth-highest sales total since the sales began in 1985.

The Friends raised $143,154.11 during the week-long sale Sept. 16-20, which included a three-hour Friends Night Preview Sale on Sept. 15. Most books, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, art prints, puzzles, vinyl records and games went for $1 or more at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds E*Plex.

“It just defies logic that a bunch of volunteers could come together and conduct a book sale that would gross that much in today's environment – but the Friends of the Library gang got it done!" said Friends Treasurer Joyce Kastler.

The Friends didn’t know what to expect from crowds this year due to concerns about the virus, and were doubtful they’d come close to the record-breaking sale they set only last fall, raising $159,491.50. They also had to cancel the 2020 Spring Book Sale due to the pandemic, and weren’t confident all the families, teachers and sale regulars would be willing to come to a large sale. The Friends took safety precautions – they required masks of all those age 12 and older, with no exceptions for medical conditions, encouraged social distancing, enforced occupancy limits and provided plastic barriers at the checkout tables.

The sales result stunned the Friends volunteers. As sales picked up through the week, Friends Treasurer Joyce Kastler remarked, “You bet we are rejoicing. We are doing much better than anticipated.”

Several things worked in their favor, said Friends member Bill Kastler. Book sale shoppers were eager to return since the Spring Book Sale was canceled. More families are schooling at home and need books. And across the country, many major book sales have been canceled due to the pandemic, so out-of-state used book dealers traveled to Springfield to buy their inventory.

“Never doubt the Friends of the Library.  They just sold $143,154.11 at their Fall Book Sale in the middle of a pandemic. Amazing!” said Regina Greer Cooper, executive director of the Springfield-Greene County Library District.

Since the first book sale in 1985, the Friends have raised more than $3 million to benefit the Library. Proceeds from the spring and fall sales help pay for extras that library patrons enjoy, including capital projects such as the 24-hour book kiosk – the Library Express West – and the Mobile Library bookmobile. All items at the sale are donated by the public or weeded from the library’s collection.

The Friends' spring book sale returns to the E*Plex on April 28-May 2, 2021.


Kathleen O'Dell is community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at

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