Friends Provide Book Barn Bonanza

On Jan. 31, Friends of the Tucson-Pima Public Library will fling open the Book Barn doors. When the sale ends on Feb. 9, organizers hope that more than 150,000 of their 200,000 books will have found new homes.

Not only do book buyers get great deals, but their purchase price funds programs, like Summer Reading, that promote literacy and love of learning. These programs are attended by more than 30,000 people each year.

"The Friends are citizen advocates for library services," says Agnes Griffen, the TPPL director. "They provide the extras."

Ann Dernier, director of TPPL's Tucson Writers Project, says the Friends came to her group's aid.

"Friends helped us reach families at bookmobile stops, children in after-school programs, teens in the juvenile detention center and seniors at the Armory Park Center," she says.

Putting 7,000 books into the hands of nonprofits, teachers and rural libraries, the Friends have recently donated to Marana High School; Green Valley and Arivaca Friends; nursing homes; Mazatlan, Mexico's English-language library; Kino Hospital pharmacy; the Navajo Nation and Gila River's Department of Corrections.

"Books we can't sell or donate go to World Care," says Mary Billings, the Book Barn's manager. "Our books have gone to East L.A., Mississippi, Chile and Bosnia. What's left are taken apart and the paper is recycled into bricks. When the paper's chemical makeup isn't suitable, we pitch them along with books with mold or animal droppings." Less than 1 percent end up in landfills.

Want to help? Opportunities for volunteers include light to physical year-round projects and triannual events like the book sale.

The Book Barn accepts book donations Monday, Tuesday or Thursday from 8 a.m.-noon or Thursday from 6-9 p.m. Also, people can call 795-3763 to arrange another time. They'll pick up, and even bring boxes and pack if you're unable.

Because of their eclectic customer base, they welcome anything except Reader's Digest condensed books and magazines.

The sale dates and hours are: Members Day is Jan. 31. Join at the door with a $20 individual membership.

Public Sales run from Feb. 1-4, Feb. 7-10 and Feb. 14-19. Hours: Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Half Price Days are Tuesday, Feb. 4 and Monday, Feb. 10 and 17. $5 Bag Day is Tuesday, Feb. 18. $3 Bag Day is Wednesday, Feb. 19.

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