Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Library Bookstore Will Fund Services

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Library Bookstore Will Fund Services

Article excerpt

The Manatee County Central Library, suffering from a series of budget cuts, needs some more Friends in its corner.Money earned from a new bookstore opening this spring will help fund services, such as youth programs, guest speakers and performances."It's gotten worse in the past few years due to budget cuts," said Judy Wetter, treasurer of Friends of Central Library, which is sponsoring the bookstore. "We pay for children's and teens programs."Each local library branch has its own Friends organization, and Friends of Central Library has been instrumental over the years in augmenting services and even providing funding for the children's section renovation in 2010."The mission of Friends is to provide additional support for library services above and beyond what our tax dollars support," said Marianne Barnebey, library board member and Bradenton Ward 2 city councilwoman.The bookstore will offer an assortment of donated books, something new for Manatee County but part of a nationwide trend of community fundraising to support essential services."It appears a lot of libraries are going to bookstores rather than book sales, and the reason for that is it's year-round income," Wetter said. "The idea is to get books in the hands of the community."Setting up a book store is different than hosting occasional book sales."You want to keep things moving and flowing, new things to see," said Linda O'Connor-Levy, Outreach Services supervisor for Manatee County libraries. "Typically we made at book sales about $5,000 each on average. We're hoping by having a regular store, they'll be able to do more to support programs of Central Library."Prices will range from 25 cents for children's books to $2 or $3 for coffee table art books. Most books will be priced at $1."Potentially we could have most everything if it comes in as donation," O'Connor-Levy said. "We have large print, nonfiction and a nice section of cookbooks already."Several tasks, including recruiting volunteer workers, need to be completed before the bookstore opens the first floor next to the elevator.The goal is to have the store open the same hours as the Central Library. Shifts will be no more than four hours each."We're just at the very beginning," Wetter said. "I'm assuming the most difficult may be getting volunteers to staff."With the goal to enrich the library experience with music, theater, lectures and local authors, the store revenue will go a long way to maintaining services the community has come to except.For O'Connor-Levy, it is a chance to provide something special."We're excited. We're very excited," she said. "It's a whole new direction."Mayors bring awareness to senior nutrition causeManatee County politicians will deliver meals to homebound senior citizens in their communities for Mayors for Meals Day. …

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