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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.