The Portland State library’s annual book sale lasted from May 22-24, with a larger volume of sales expected than previous years, but missed its goal by a few hundred dollars.
The total as of noon Thursday was just over $9,200. The goal of the book sale was to reach $10,000 by that time. That goal was about $1,000 more than last year. The hot weather may have been a contributor to missing the goal, said a sale volunteer–people just didn’t want to be inside or pack around a lot of books.
The purpose of the book sale is to provide service to the campus and community, said Tom Pfingsten, director of the library. The sale is intended to provide books for the students’ own collections for very little cost.
If they wanted to make a large profit at the sale they could, said the library director. Book stores like Powell’s have offered the library large amounts of money for all the books, but they refused because the sale is for the students, Pfingsten explained.
In previous years the sale closed down at 5 p.m. because library workers are state employees. Since the Friends of the Library extended the hours of the sale to 8 p.m., the revenue has increased by about $1,000 a year. In the years before the three extended hours the average revenue was about $4,000.
The Friends of the Library (FOL) is a volunteer group of Alumni and retired faculty who have helped at the book sale for the past seven years.
FOL first started helping set up and cashiering at the book sale. The group soon saw a need to stay open later because many students and people in the community don’t get off work until five, said Gary Robinson, who leads the FOL team.
The FOL has done many other fund-raisers along with the annual book sale. Among the numerous achievements are a donation of $3,000 to assist with the restoration of the Simon Benson House, the raising of about $16,000 for the PSU library research center, and bringing the King Arthur exhibit to PSU.
The FOL has also succeeded in getting the annual Thomas Wolfe Society symposium to be co-hosted in Portland in May 2002, said Robinson, who will be traveling to Harvard for this year’s upcoming Thomas Wolfe Society.
The Friends of the Library’s long term goal is to have PSU’s library match the size and demand of the university. PSU has more graduate students than any other university in the state, Robinson said. Even with those numbers the library works with a budget half the size of University of Oregon, continued Robinson; who attended PSU when the library was in Lincoln Hall and “smelled of sweat socks and formaldehyde.” PSU’s library is also the only research library in the region.
“The Friends have made significant contributions to the library,” Pfingsten said of the group. He said the book sale is just one those contributions.