Friday, September 29, 2006


I intend to make regular postings to this blog. I will be covering Library activities, Friends group activities, Book Sales, etc. If something is happening at your place, drop me an email and I will post information about it on the blog. The more detail you give me, the more I will put in my posting.

I hope those of you familiar with the blogosphere will stop by once in a while and see what is happening regarding Northwoods libraries.

And for those of you not familiar with blogs ............ well, it's about time!



  • Was the session worthwhile or would you have better spend your time baking cookies, raking leaves or watching football on TV?
  • Did the conference pass on more information than you care to know about book sales?
  • Too much food? Not enough?
  • What about location?
  • What did you like about the conference the most? What did you absolutely hate?
  • If you think the concept was valid, how often do you recommend that we hold this type of conference?
  • Any thoughts about themes for future conferences?

Other Fundraising Ideas

This subject was facilitated by a representative from Medford:

Other Ways for Friends Groups to MAKE MONEY:

  • Garden walks
  • Bus trips
  • In-house stores to sell basic supplies/used books/book bags/bookmarks/umbrellas/literacy-related gift items/gift items specifically related to your location etc.
  • Ask local businesses to designate special days where the business donates 2%-5% (or more?) of their sales for the day to the library
  • Silent Auctions
  • Golf Tournaments
  • Selling coffee, etc. in the library
  • On-line book sales
  • Sell T-shirts/book bags/etc.
  • Art exhibits with 25% or ?? of sales going to the Friends
  • Bingo parties
  • Road races
  • Flower bulb sales
  • Fashion shows
  • Read-a-thons with readers getting sponsors
  • Hold a "book hop" for teens at the local high school gym ...Friends could provide chaperones, pay for the DJ, treats, sodas, etc. and the cost to enter the dance should more than cover the costs thus raising $$ for the library.
  • Bridge tournaments where players pay an entry fee and compete for donated prizes.
  • Wine, beer, mustard tasting parties (maybe best held off-site in a restaurant or ??) Raffle off baskets containing some of the products being sampled with related things like corkscrews/crackers/cheese spreaders/ etc.

Legal Requirements for Non-Profits Including Sales Tax

Facilitated by a representative from Wausau

  • 501(c)3 status and Friends groups .......the following Wisconsin website gives a link to a helpful IRS pamphlet on which groups need to obtain 501(c)3 status and how to apply for it. There is also a link to the Wisconsin form that 501(c)3 groups need to file with the state.... ......
  • To get help filling out your 501(c)3 application go to ..... this site is designed to help new non-profit organizations complete IRS Form 1023, the Application for Exempt Status Under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Be sure to take a look at the FAQ and Common Mistakes Made by New 501(c)3 Organizations.
  • Check out Trustee Essential #24: Library Friends and Library Foundations in the latest edition of the Wisconsin Library Trustee Handbook.

Book Sale Leftovers

  • Facilitated by a representative from Marshfield
  • Book Sale Leftovers:
  • Do you keep everything that's left over to use in a different way? What different ways?
  • Do you make a deal with a local booksellers to cart whatever is leftover for a flat price? For free (just to get rid of the stuff)?
  • Do you haul them to a place like Goodwill or ?? (Maybe they would pick up leftovers?)
  • Rotate at least some of them into your on-going sales in the library lobby or ??
  • Put some on a "free cart" in the library (just to get rid of them)?
  • Donate some of them to places like hospitals (including Veteran's hospitals)/senior centers/nursing homes/find some to send them to in developing countries or devastated places like the Gulf coast or ??
  • Get the crafters in your area to make things out of used books like furniture, lamps, etc.?
  • Offer them to other libraries or other groups in the area to use in their own book sales?
  • Do you consider the bad publicity you could get if you just dump leftovers in the library garbage dumpsters and someone finds them and complains to the media about all the "good books" the library is tossing out?
  • Have a "free day" on the day after the sale to get rid of as much as you can before ....
  • Calling in the recyclers?

Book Dealers and Privileged Access to Books

Facilitated by a representative from Rhinelander:

Who gets pre-sale/privileged access to books?
  • Sorters? Pricers? Library staff? Book Dealers? Under what circumstances? Would allowing these type of pre-sales encourage at least some people to volunteer to help set the sale up?
  • Is there a pre-sale for Friends members/library staff members and trustees (whether Friends members or not)?
  • If you allow pre-sales to any specific groups, how do you identify individual members of that/those group's?
  • Can identified dealers have their own Friends memberships and take advantage of pre-sales?
  • Do you charge different rates for Friends membership for "regular people" as opposed to dealers/other businesses/etc.?
  • Does it really matter who buys materials or when they buy them if the purpose of the sale is to sell the items to raise money for the library?
  • Do you allow dealers to volunteer in any aspect of sale set-up?
  • Do you charge extra (double?) for items sold during pre-sales so that the "privileged" pay for the honor?
  • Might having too many rules against finding treasures while you're volunteering work against the project?

Security Measures

Minocqua Facilitator continued:

Security Measures....
  • What kind of security measures do you employ in your storage facility? At your sales events?
  • Are volunteers covered by insurance in case they get hurt? What about shoppers?


Minocqua Facillitator Continued:

  • How do people learn that the library would like to have their donations? Fliers handed out with each book check-out?
  • How/where/by what means do you advertise your sale event?
  • Does your Friends group include "marketing" as a regular item in your annual budget? As a flat amount or a percentage of sales or ??
  • Except for reporting on your sale revenue at Friends meetings and library board meeting, do you tell the general public how much money the sale made? Why? Why not?
  • Do you use any "come-on" tactics such as Book Bucks or pre-sales for members?
  • Do you offer Friends membership opportunities at your sales?
  • Do you advertise upcoming sales by tucking in a sheet with that information on it along with Friends membership application blanks mentioning that Friends members get to come to pre-sales or ??
  • Do you use any special techniques to sell groups ot items such as banding 6+ romance/Goosebumps? etc. titles together for a special price?
  • Do you make the effort to thank donors/newspapers for free ads/stores that let you put up posters/etc. for their various roles in making your sale a success?

Frequency of Your Book Sales

Minocqua Facillitator Continued.

  • Do you always hold the same number of sales every year? At the same time of year?

Location, Location, Location

This subject was facillitated by a representative from Minocqua.

  • Are your sales always held at the same location? Do you have to pay to rent the space?
  • Can you leave your tables set up all year?
  • Do you hold special sales to coincide with community events like fairs, sidewalk sales, etc.?
  • Can you encourage a person/business to donate book storage/sale space? They could get a tax write-off and be listed when the Friends publicly thank their business partners.
  • If you don't have a permanent place to hold your sales, how do you go about finding and funding your space needs?

On - Going Sales

This subject was facillitated by a representative from Merrill

  • Where do you hold these sales?
  • Who keeps the shelves filled? Freshened?
  • Do volunteers adhere to a regular work schedule?
  • Who collects the money when patrons buy materials/ Library staff? Others?
  • In addition to an ongoing sale in the library, do you also sell materials online? If so, where? Who handles the process?

Sorting And Pricing Books

The first topic of discussion was led by a facilitator from Athens. This was a BEFORE sale activity.

  • Do you have printed sorting/pricing guidelines?
  • Are the prices different for sporadic sales as opposed to on-going sales?
  • Are prices different for things like almost new books/children's books/etc.?
  • Do you accept donations at all times or limit them to 2-4 weeks prior to your sale?
  • Do you limit your sale to just books or do you also include AV items, puzzles, used equipment, etc? Do you have a policy that limits what will be accepted initially or do you take everything and toss what you don't want?
  • Do you have special areas for things like new books/first editions/collectors items/etc?
  • Do you use a "regular crew" to do this work (on a regular work schedule) or is it just who shows up when there's work to do?
  • Do you devote a section of the sale for "free items" - preferably keeping that section outside the actual sale room?
  • How do you get items from drop-off places to sale locations?


The Keynote Speaker was John DeBacher from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. He spoke on how the Baby Boomer generation will likely affect libraries, library programs, and library personnel in the future.

How well do you feel he delivered his message? How pertinent do you feel his speech's content was to the operation of your support group and the library you serve?


September 30th, 2006 is the date of the 2nd Northwoods Conference of Friends and Library Supporters. This year's event is being held in the Community Room of the Rothschild Village Hall. The theme is fund raising in general and book sales in particular. The conference will seek out Best Practices ideas regarding what to do Before, During, and After the sale.

As of the time of this posting there are 60 people registered, coming from all four corners of the state.

Additional postings today will cover the subjects discussed during the Conference. We solicit comments and opinions on your experience if you are an attendee or your input on the subject if you were not able to attend.

Thanks for your help!


This Blog has been created to facilitate the exchange of ideas between Friends of Library groups and other Library Support Organizations in the Northern part of Wisconsin. Of course, input is welcomed no matter where you are located. We hope to develop "Best Practice" concepts relating to funds generation and group operations. In this age of having to do more with less we acknowledge that "all of us are smarter than one of us".

Feel free to comment on topics posed as well as the organization of the blog. Continuous improvement will be our goal.

Blog on !!