It’s one week till the Big Book Sale, the annual event that the Friends of the Guelph Public Library was created to administer over 15 years ago. It was a fundraising project launched to show that Guelph had an appetite for a new main library building, and after years of banking all the funds raised, the endgame is finally in sight nearly 20 years later. So what happens when the Friends have achieved their goal?
The first book sale was in Old Quebec Street in 2007, almost 20,000 books were sold and it made around $10,000. That's not a bad haul for any fundraiser, but the act itself was as much a statement of intent: a new downtown main library building was going to get built. That was 16 years ago, a bit longer than the Friends might have hoped, but the sale itself grew. By 2019, the last year the sale was held before a two-year pandemic hiatus, $127,000 was raised
A lot's changed in the last few years. Ground was finally broken in the Baker District Redevelopment site back in June, and on Monday, the Friends issued a comically large novelty cheque to Guelph Library staff for $1 million. It probably won’t be the last cheque because the sale's still going but then what happens? What is the role of the Friends of the Guelph Public Library when their 20 year mission is achieved in 2026 when the new downtown main library opens its doors?
That is one of the questions that Anne MacKay, who is an at-large member of the board for the Friends, will have to answer on this week’s podcast. She will give us a brief recap of the Friends’ history, and will talk about the logistics of this year’s sale including why the date was changed from October to September, and what kind of volunteer help they still need. Also, MacKay will discuss why she wanted to be a Friend, and what the Book Sale’s success tells her about Guelph's thirst for literacy and education.
So let's talk about the future of the Friends on this week's Guelph Politicast!
The Big Book Sale will take place from Wednesday September 20 to Sunday September 24 at this year’s sale location at 69 Huron Street. Wednesday is early bird night, which means it will cost you $10 to enter, but the other days are free to enter. To see times, and to get more information about the Book Sale, go to the Friends of the Guelph Public Library website. While you’re there, sign up for the newsletter and learn how to volunteer.
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