Friends Bookstore Annual Report

2011 Annual Report Friends’ Bookstore The past year was a full and busy one; here are the highlights of the successes and changes in the store.

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  2. At the beginning of 2011, the Bookstore Committee decided to begin taking debit/credit cards. Because the Bookstore is a non-profit organization, it gets a special rate from the company, both in the monthly fees and in the per-transaction costs. We saw credit/debit card sales double each month for the first four months. Now the number of customers using debit/credit cards has stabilized, but we hear multiple compliments regarding the fact that we now accept plastic.
  3. The Bookstore participated in several special sales this year, including the White-Out Wednesday sale held on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and sponsored by the Rochester Downtown Alliance. The details of the sale were kept secret until the day of the sale, and that created a bit of buzz. In the end, we offered everything in the store at half price and made over $850.
  4. The sorters have been kept busy this year and estimate that they receive an average of 500 books daily. The sorting system has been working very well, with the library taking all that they need for their collections before the Friends begin to select materials. The Bookstore does not lack for books, and we have special sales when one category is full. For example, right now children‟s books are buy-one-get-one-free.
  5. The Bookstore donates many, many books and other materials to other organizations. For example, Channel One gets new children‟s, adult fiction and nonfiction books each week. We regularly send shipments to the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, often fulfilling requests. We have donated to other libraries (in Minnesota, in the United States, and overseas), to local charities, and to area schools. We also provide books to new teachers so they can begin establishing classroom libraries.
  6. When we have author visits (Catherine Friend in June, the Minnesota Crime Wave, Kamala Nair, and Paula McClain for examples), the Bookstore purchases copies of the author‟s books and sells them during the author visit so patrons have a chance to get the book signed. We also help with set-up and teardown of the auditorium and provide coffee and cookies.
  7. The Bookstore sponsored a Mystery Tea and enjoyed an overwhelmingly positive response. Bookstore volunteers and Library staff members were the actors, and everyone baked goodies. We borrowed round tables from the History Center, and their success lead to the Friends Board and Foundation purchasing round tables for use at large auditorium events. Individual Friends purchases table cloths and carafes.
  8. In February, the Bookstore sponsored a Food for Thought fundraiser for Channel One, giving customers a discount if they brought in a food donation for Channel One. The store will be participating again this year as Channel One attempts to collect a Mile of Mac „n Cheese.
  9. Many new volunteers joined the Friends in both the Bookstore and in the sorting area. We continue to grow. Due to the hard work and dedication of all, the Bookstore is making a record-breaking donation to the Library. The Friends‟ Bookstore Committee voted on Monday, January 9, 2012 to donate $57,000 to the library, leaving a small reserve so we can pay our bills. This amount is a $5,000 increase over last year‟s donation.

nd Saturday Sales continued to be a big hit. In 2010, the sales were a new idea to attract people into the store. During 2011, many of the library patrons were familiar with the Friends’ Bookstore, and we saw the benefit in large increases in sales.


Don’t forget next week we have a fantastic booksale in the Library Auditorium during Rochester’s Winterfest celebrations.

We have a fantastic selection of fiction, hardcover and paperback, an amazing array of non-fiction items, including vhs, cassette tapes, cds, dvds and audio tapes (the latter will be in the Twinkle room).

We will also be collecting food donations for Channel One on the first day of the sale – so if you bring in a non-perishable item you will receive a discount on your purchases!

AND remember, the Friends get in 30 minutes earlier to peruse the great selection! Time to join now!

Friends Winterfest Book Sale and Bookstore Promos

Another Great Selection of BOOKS at fantastic PRICES!! Don’t miss  your next winter read!
February Specials

Food For Thought – Last year we put a Channel One barrel in the store and offered a 20% discount to folks who made a donation (hopefully a protein) to the store. This year if folks spend $25 in the store, they’ll get a free tote bag. The Friends kick that off Food For Thought at the February 2nd/3rd Auditorium Sale.  Channel One’s goal is to collect a mile of mac ‘n cheese.  We will be selling boxes of KRAFT mac ‘n cheese at the auditorium sale so folks who didn’t bring boxes along can take advantage of the discount at the sale.  We will give folks a discount off their entire Winterfest purchase with a mac ‘n cheese donation.

Two-fer Tuesdays – Tuesdays are a quiet day in our store (making it a perfect time to browse!).  In order to entice you in on Tuesdays, we are going to try a “Two-fer Tuesday” sale during the month of  March.  Customers will be able to buy-one-get one (of equal/ lesser value) free.  That will apply to most items in the store, the exceptions being the Rochester Reads books and the new canvas bags.  
NB::The Rochester Reads books will be here by February 13, and the bags are already in the store.

Book Review – Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Book Review

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Jeff Kinney

I can’t imagine too many things more challenging for a juvenile fiction author than trying to write so that your books appeal to both your young readers and their parents.  More often than not, a writer really hits a home run with the kids but leaves the parents either appalled at the content or completely bored to tears.  It’s a rare thing, in my experience, to find a juvenile fiction book that provokes serious belly laughs in my seven year-old son, while making me laugh so hard that I have tears streaming down my face.   Surprisingly, Jeff Kinney has done exactly that in his best selling book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Narrated in diary format by the main character, Greg Heffley, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a  humorous inside look at the life of a middle school student who struggles to understand the new rules for being a “tween.”  What really seems to make this book “work” is that it’s so real.  Kids get the humor because they see themselves in Greg; and parents get the humor because they either remember what it was like to be a kid, or they see their own little rugrats in the actions of the main characters.
Unlike some similar books of this genre, the author does a nice job of really showing the personality of the characters without resorting to misspelled words or truly bad behavior by the main characters to lure in the target audience.  Greg and his friends do misbehave because, after all, that’s what makes it funny!  However, the behavior isn’t extreme enough to cause serious objections from most parents.
The reading level for this book is approximately 5th grade, but younger readers will really enjoy it as well, if read to them by an adult.  And, frankly, I dare any adult to try to read this book without giggling at least once.  I bet you can’t do it!  
This book is the first in a series of six with similar titles, and all are available through the Rochester Public Library in traditional format.  For more information about this book or the additional titles in this series, visit the website dedicated to the series at

~ Catherine H. Armstrong

Rochester Public Library – news article

There was a great article in the recent (January/February) Rochester Women Magazine on the Rochester Public Library by Suzanne Jones. Thank you for your informative article, and for reaching more of our community! The Friends support the libray in many ways, but in particular we are involved in the Rochester Reads programme. We would be delighted to publish the ‘several pages more abou tthe many incredible programs and services the RPL has to offer’ if you have written them Suzanne!

The e-Reader Debate – Instant Gratification!

Instant Gratification!
by Catherine H. Armstrong

I love books.  I love the words on a page.  I love the smell of books, the feel and the weight of a book in my hands, and even the sound of the crisp pages between my fingers as they crinkle slightly as I turn each page.  I love immersing myself in a story and becoming one with the main character, and I love being transported to another time and place where all of the worries of my real life are left behind until such time as I choose to refocus my energies on them again.  I love books so much that I can even remember exactly what it felt like to learn to read; when the words were no longer just a big jumble on a page and suddenly they took on a life of their own.  I remember those first “Dick and Jane” books in the first few weeks of first grade, when it was still warm outside and I could sit in the swing in my back yard and immerse myself in the simple antics of Dick, Jane and their dog, Spot.  And I remember being so deeply focused on whatever I was reading that my teacher once had to call my name several times before I realized she was speaking to me.  I guess it’s fair to say that, aside from my family, books are my greatest love.
Those who know me know this about me.  Reading is such an integral part of who I am that it would be nearly impossible to know me well at all and not know that I love reading and I love books.  And so it’s been a normal part of my life for many years that my friends and acquaintances have directed questions about books in my direction.  What am I reading?  Do I have a book recommendation for a 13 year old girl?  What’s my favorite book?  What do I think about the latest book by…(insert name of pretty much any author here).  But, with the introduction of e-readers in the last several years, the biggest question I get these days is “What do you think about e-readers?”  Wow…that’s a loaded question!
When e-readers first came out, I was adamantly opposed to them.  As I’ve already stated, there’s just nothing quite like the actual feel of a book in your hands.  I swore I’d never buy one.  They just seemed like such a silly investment.  And then the iPad came out.  Now, in fairness, I bought an iPad because I wanted something small I could carry around with me that would do most of the same functions as a regular computer without the size and weight.  The last thing on my mind was the fact that it would double as an e-reader.  However, as with any new “toy,” I had to at least give the e-reader function a try, and so I downloaded the apps for the Nook and Kindle.  I have only one word for how I feel about e-readers now:  WOW!
Nothing can ever entirely replace a “real” book in my heart, but I have to admit that the ease and flexibility of an e-reader has earned a place in my heart and is giving the traditional book some rather stiff competition with me.  I never imagined the flexibility it would provide.  I still buy, read and borrow traditional books from the library, but I have to admit that the e-reader has also earned the hype it’s received.
What could be better than hearing about a book on TV or in a newspaper article and having the ability to read it immediately?  That’s truly the genius behind e-readers; the simple ability to download pretty much any title within seconds.  Instant gratification!
Some people might argue that they cost money and that e-readers get expensive with so many downloaded purchases from the big book stores. This can be true, but it doesn’t need to be.  Rochester Public Library, for instance, has thousands of titles available for immediate download for e-book readers.  Just go to the webpage, type in the title of the book you’re searching, and you’ll often not only find the book, but you’ll find a variety of formats to choose from.  And the best part is not having to worry about returning them and those nasty fines when you forget!  When your loan expires at the end of 14 or 21 days, it just “disappears.”  But don’t despair!  If you haven’t finished reading, you can always check it out again!
The ability to change the font of the text is a big plus with me.  For years, I chose not to read when exercising at the gym because the print on the page is too small to focus on while I’m trying to accomplish my workout.  But, with the e-reader, I can enlarge the text on a whim so that I can see the words more easily as the sweat drips into my eyes!  And I can only begin to imagine what a gift the ability to change the font size has been for my 81 year old mother!  Her reading had been mostly on hold these last few years due to macular degeneration, which is an age-related disease that causes the eye to be unable to see fine detail, and frequently makes tasks like reading impossible.  But with the new e-reader she bought, she can set the font as large as she needs and she’s now back to enjoying books by the dozens.
Another benefit is the ability to immediately look up the definition of an unknown word.  This is especially beneficial for kids whose vocabulary is always increasing.  With an e-reader, you can just touch on a word and it will bring up the definition in seconds.  No more erroneous  guessing because there’s not a dictionary within immediate reaching distance.  Just tap on the word and the meaning will pop up.  Awesome!
Probably my favorite feature of an e-reader is the ability to read in bed in the middle of the night without having to turn on the lights!  What an incredible idea!  Absolutely brilliant!  No longer do I need to leave the warmth and coziness of my bed in the middle of the night when insomnia overtakes me.  I can just reach over and pick up my e-book and begin reading without ever disturbing my husband by flipping on the lights.  I’m sure he appreciates that, and I certainly appreciate not having to go to a different room to read!
Nothing will (for me) ever completely replace a traditional book; but there are so many advantages to an e-reader that it’s difficult to ignore their potential.  I feel strongly about traditional books, but I have to admit that my reading time has been equally split this last year as I’ve discovered the wonderful options available through an e-reader. My only regret is that I didn’t open my mind to the idea much sooner.  All of those books out there that I’ve missed!
If you’re interested in purchasing an e-reader, your first step – presuming you desire to download books from the library –  should be to determine which e-readers are compatible with the library’s e-book selection.  For a comprehensive cheat sheet of those devices, follow this link:
If you already have an e-reader, then you’ve taken the most important step.  The next question would be:  Do you know how to use it?  If your answer to that question isn’t a firm and confident “Yes!”, then the library is here to help you.  Beginning in February, drop-in classes are being offered by the library to help you!  Just select a date from the dates listed below, bring your e-reader and the cord it came with, as well as your laptop computer if you have one.  These classes will meet in Meeting Room B at the Rochester Public Library and are on a walk-in basis.  No advanced registration is required.
Happy Reading and Welcome to the 21st Century!

Bring Your Own e-Reader (BYOE) Days
at the Rochester Public Library

Wednesday, February 1st
9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Monday, February 6th
11 am – 2 pm
Thursday, February 16th
11 am – 2 pm
Wednesday, February 22nd
3 pm – 6 pm

Friends Bookstore = new arrivals

Our Friends Bookstore has a lot of new arrivals – coming in daily. We still have a special on Children’s books for the month of January (buy one get one free at equal or lesser value). New displays often highlight interesting books to read if you need suggestions!
Remember our Winterfest Booksale is coming right up too (in the auditorium on February 2, 3rd).