Friends of PG Library seeks to generate more interest and sales

New punchcards available for customers

Lynn Kutter/Enterprise-Leader
Ed Cothren, a volunteer with Friends of Prairie Grove Library, sorts through boxes of donated books for the Friends' used bookstore. All proceeds benefit the library.
Lynn Kutter/Enterprise-Leader Ed Cothren, a volunteer with Friends of Prairie Grove Library, sorts through boxes of donated books for the Friends' used bookstore. All proceeds benefit the library.

PRAIRIE GROVE -- Instead of reinventing the wheel, Friends of Prairie Grove Public Library is implementing two programs this year that are found at many businesses and restaurants: a punch card and a senior discount day.

Patrons can pick up a "loyalty" bookstore punch card and for every $1 of purchases, they receive one punch. After five punches, the sixth punch is a $1 worth of free books. This is for books that range from 50 cents for hardcover books and paperbacks that are 5/$1.

Senior Discount Day will be held the last Friday of the month and books will be 50% off. A senior is generally considered someone who is 60 years or older.

Tom Cole, president of the Friends' organization, said a majority of the bookstore's customers are senior adults and the punch card and senior discount day will especially help those customers.

"This way some people will get a little bit more for their money," Cole said.

The used bookstore is located in a back area of Prairie Grove Public Library, 881 W. Buchanan St., and is open the same hours as the library. Cole and two volunteers, Ed and Fran Cothren, take care of the bookstore by going through book donations and then placing those on shelves.

Fran said the used bookstore has books in all genres and for all ages. There are cookbooks, books on health, country living and plants. The store has fiction and nonfiction and also has young adult books and children's books.

In addition, Fran has put together bundles of similar books for customers to purchase at a discounted price.

"We have a wide range of books," Fran said.

Another new service at the bookstore is that customers can write down certain books or subjects that they are interested in, along with their name and phone number, and volunteers will keep an eye out for those books. If those come in, the person will be notified the books are available. As an example, one person has written down an interest in any Pokemon books.

Fran said the bookstore averages $100-120 in sales each month (around 300 books), with the majority of sales being paperback books. Customers pay for their books at the circulation desk at the front of the library.

She said she promotes the bookstore in as many places as possible on social media to generate more interest and hopefully bring in more customers.

Cole said he sees the purpose of the bookstore as two-fold. First, it supports the library by raising money that goes directly to needs identified by library staff. Secondly, he said, the bookstore is there to find a "second home" for as many books as possible.

"We get a lot of donations and we want to get them to as many homes as possible," Cole said. "At least they are finding a home, instead of being tossed. We would rather sell them at a reduced price, and that is so much better for those who cannot afford to buy books (at retail prices)."

In addition to the used bookstore, Friends of PG Library also holds book sales throughout the year at the library pavilion in the parking lot.

The next sale will be a BOGO, buy a bag of books for $1, get a bag of books free or buy a box of books for $5 and get a box of books free, Cole said.

"We're trying to work down the inventory that we have," he said.

Friends receives donations from many sources. Some are books that the library weeds out of its collection and others are donated from individuals. In addition, the bookstore receives donations from other libraries and sometimes from schools.

Megan Wood, library director, said the library has used money from Friends for larger items that are not in the budget. Mostly, the money has been used to purchase shelving, which is very expensive, Wood said. The library also just purchased a book binder using donations from the Friends' organization

photo Lynn Kutter/Enterprise-Leader Fran Cothren, a volunteer with Friends of Prairie Grove Library, looks through books in the Friends' used book store located in the back area of the library. The nonprofit organization is starting new programs this year to bring in more business.
photo Lynn Kutter/Enterprise-Leader Friends of Prairie Grove Library now has a loyalty punch card for its bookstore, located in the back area of the library on Buchanan Street. Customers receive one punch for every $1 purchase of books. After five punches, they get a sixth punch for $1 of free books.