Thank You to the CommunityFOCCLS
Friends of the Library Grateful for Continued Citrus County Support
The Friends of the Citrus County Library System (FOCCLS) have nothing to say but “Thank you”! This year the Friends celebrated their 20th Anniversary, and kicked off Friends of the Library month in October with the Return of the MEGA Book Sale. This highly anticipated event was the first large-scale book sale that the Friends were able to host since early March 2020.
The Friends were anything but idle during the time between MEGA sales. Beginning in September 2020 and running through June 2021, they hosted 15 pop-up sidewalk sales at various library branches and at their Book House location in Lecanto. The huge success of those sales brought in more than $31,000, thanks to the dedication and support of the Citrus County community. “What started as a way to move inventory, quickly became a meeting of old friends who all love books! We were able to do something for the libraries and keep ourselves immersed in volunteering,” stated FOCCLS Vice President Janet Genova.
As the MEGA sale’s return grew closer, the Friends closed up shop on the pop-up sales and moved into full-on preparation mode. In the past, there has been a MEGA sale every 6 months. The Friends spend that time packing up more than 900 banana boxes full of materials that have been donated. On September 29, volunteers met the movers to pack 923 boxes of books and puzzles into two moving trucks and then make the journey across the county. Once they arrived at the Citrus County Auditorium, a small army of volunteers began to process of sorting and unpacking. “A book sale of this magnitude requires help from a variety of sources. Over the years, we have formed fantastic partnerships with the Inverness Rotary and the Citrus High School JROTC,” said FOCCLS President Sandy Price. “On our first morning in the auditorium the Rotary comes in to set-up the more than 100 tables that are needed. Then, after school gets out, the JROTC students come over to help us place the 900+ boxes in the correct locations.”
After the boxes have been placed, the Friends spend almost 2 whole days making final preparations before the doors open on Friday afternoon. “This year, we made a few changes to our sale. In an effort to allow people additional time to shop on Friday, we opened the doors at 3:00 PM, instead of 5:00 PM,” recalls FOCCLS Secretary Karen Slaska. By making the time change, many of the dedicated, returning shoppers were thrilled. “I had a shopper come to me and express how happy she was that she had additional time to shop. She told me that she has been coming to the sale for years, but because she can’t drive at night, it was difficult for her to shop for more than an hour. With the time change, she had plenty of time to browse,” said Slaska.
This story was just one of many from attendees who come from all over Florida to attend this sale. As the weekend continued on and the banana boxes were emptied, the Friends volunteers knew that this was one of the best sales that they had had in years. In addition to the 300+ people who attended on opening night, many returned on the following days. Teachers looking to fill classroom libraries, grandparents shopping for the holidays, and families of all ages flocked to the sale.
In the end, this 4-day MEGA sale brought in more than $31,000 to be donated to the Citrus County Library System. “Supporting the libraries in our county is why we do what we do! We even had the opportunity to donate materials left over after the sale to 2 additional groups,” said newly elected FOCCLS Treasurer Deb Driskill. Those additional donations included books for the Citrus County Habitat for Humanity stores that serve both Inverness and Crystal River, as well as a donation of kids’ books to the Citrus County Education Foundation to be added to their teacher supply store.
Did you miss the Fall 2021 MEGA Book Sale? You can join the Friends for two additional Saturday Sidewalk Sales on December 4 and January 15 at their Book House location in the Village West Plaza, located at 593 E Gulf to Lake Highway (Highway 44), from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Looking forward to the next MEGA sale? The official dates for the Spring 2022 MEGA Book Sale are March 11-14 at the Citrus County Auditorium in Inverness.
Attending a book sale isn’t the only way to support the Friends of the Library this year. Becoming a Friend at your local branch is an easy first step! All you need to do is stop at your branch’s circulation desk and ask for an application to become a Friend. For more information about becoming a Friend of the Library, go to citruslibraries.org/support-us/friends/ or check out their website directly at www.foccls.org. You can also make a tax-deductible donation directly to the Friends of the Citrus County Library System by sending in a check made out to “FOCCLS” with “donation” in the memo line to 425 W. Roosevelt Blvd, Beverly Hills, FL, 34465.
All library branches also accept donations of new and gently-used books and puzzles, Monday-Friday from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Please contact your branch directly if you have questions about which donations are accepted and where to drop them off.
To stay up-to-date on when and where sales are happening, you can follow the Friends of the Citrus County Library System, or Citrus County Library System on Facebook. If you would like more information about this topic, please call the Friends of the Citrus County Library System at 352.513.4221 or email email@example.com.