It isn’t always easy to embrace change…especially when change invades a hallowed tradition like our 4th of July used book sale. But, we are grateful to the hundreds of Friends and community members who turned out to support this important fundraising event, even though it looked a little different than what they were used to seeing in the past.
While feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, there were a few outspoken critics who, understandably, “liked it the way it was.” But, a steady drop in revenues in recent years was a wake-up call for us, and we knew we had to explore some changes to reverse that trend.
The increasingly torrid July heat took a physical toll on shoppers and volunteers alike the last few years, keeping some away and forcing others to retire early to cooler climes. And, it didn’t appear likely that that was going to improve soon. So, while we all enjoyed the festive nature of the outdoor sale on the 4th of July, we felt we had to get people out of the heat. So, we moved most of the books indoors.
We also realized that not everyone could make it to a book sale on a holiday. So, we decided to make it a 3-day event to give our supporters some options. Plus, it gave us an opportunity to have a members-only “Early Bird” sale on the morning of July 3rd, something we had never done before for this sale.
Of course, there are always challenges inherent in any change. One of the biggest hurdles was the limited space indoors, which meant that we wouldn’t be able to display all the books at the same time on the first day. And, another involved the extra burden of a 3-day sale on volunteers, many of whom were happy to dedicate their entire holiday break to the sale.
While we are happy with the results of the sale and the fact that we reversed that downward trend I mentioned earlier, we also are busy making some tweaks to make the experience even better next year for shoppers. And, as always, we would love to hear your suggestions.
When you become a Friend, you help support an important part of the social fabric of your community. Plus, you earn "Early Bird" privileges at most book sales, which means you gain entry to the sales in advance of non-members to have first shot at the books of greatest interest to you. And, we will notify you of any scheduled book sales or special events. So, you'll never miss out on an opportunity.
The traditional Independence Day book sale became a three-day event this year, with encouraging results for the many volunteers who gave up a portion of their holiday to make it possible. The sale generated nearly $12,000 in revenues to support special programs and other needs of the Cascade Branch of KDL.
“This was a transitional year for us,” explained Friends President Joe David. “We experimented with a lot of new twists in our venue and scheduling to make the event more comfortable and accessible for customers, so we weren’t sure what to expect. But, the results were encouraging.”
David said there were a lot of volunteers, township personnel and library staff to thank, but special accolades were due to Kathy Wosinski, sales event chair, and Ellen Gray, assistant sales event chair.
“I’m not sure anyone who hasn’t done it can fully appreciate the amount of time, effort, planning and creativity that goes into putting together this 3-day event,” David said. “Kathy and Ellen—with a whole lot of support from a lot of very committed volunteers—made it almost look easy.”
Wosinski said that nearly 70% of the books displayed were sold during the event, with the remainder going to local nonprofits and dealer who made a contribution to the Friends and promised to find a good home for all the books.
“The dealer wrote us a wonderful thank-you note and said that, while a small portion would be sold in his used book store, the majority would be going to benefit local charities and nonprofits,” she said. “It’s what the Friends are all about.”
Just some of the many volunteers are seen here setting up for the 4th of July sale.
The votes have been counted, and the line-up of books for the upcoming Book discussion season is now “in the books,” so to speak.
Book discussions are held at 10:00 am on the third Monday of the month in the Wisner Center at the Cascade Library. We encourage attendees to read ahead of the schedule if possible since some titles may be in short supply near the discussion date.
The following is the list of books scheduled for discussion starting this coming September. For more information about each book, visit our website (cascadefriends.org/events):
Date Title Author
Sep 16 The Winter of Our Discontent John Steinbeck
Oct 21 Educated Tara Westover
Nov 18 Where the Crawdads Sing Delia Owens
Dec 16 The Midnight Plan of the Repos Man W. Bruce Cameron
Jan 20 Wolf’s Mouth John Smolens
Feb 17 The Life We Bury Allen Eskens
Mar 16 Nine Perfect Strangers Liane Moriarty
Apr 20 The Library Book Susan Orleans
May 18 The Kinship of Secrets Eugenia Kim
If you have never participated in one of the Friends’ book discussions and would like to give it a try, simply show up for a scheduled event. No registration is necessary.
Steinbeck's last novel will be the subject of the Sept 16 book discussion.
We all learn from an early age that, when you check a book out of the library, you need to return it. But, thanks, in part, to a $5,000 donation from the Friends of the Cascade Library, KDL is now able to give children who visit their new bookmobile a new book of their own to keep.
As of the end of June, the Bookmobile had traveled more than 6,000 miles, visited 16 schools and hosted more than 13,000 visitors…and still counting! Claire Horlings, development manager for KDL, said that she is appreciative of the support of community organizations like the Friends.
“Our dream of having a mobile library on wheels became a reality last fall and has allowed us to partner with more than 10 community organizations in a unique way,” she said. “While the Bookmobile is equipped with a wonderful collection of materials, we can now also give children a brand new book to keep thanks to your generosity.
“Your gift is a precious investment in the lives of children and their literary success,” she added. “Thank you for all you do to make the library a special place for everyone.”
Children visiting KDL's new bookmobile are pictured enjoying their new books from the Friends.
Jacquelyn Vincenta will discuss her newest book, The Lake and the Lost Girl, at the Friends’ Booked-For-Lunch event October 24 at the Cascade Township Library. Lunch begins at 12:30 pm, and the presentation commences at 1 pm. The cost (including a box lunch) is $10 for members and $12 for non-members. If you don’t plan to eat, the cost is $5. If you plan to attend, you must register at kdl.org.
Ms. Vincenta’s writing career started as a police beat reporter in Louisiana, which was likely basic training for the mystery-writing career she would embark on later. She also managed a publishing company, specializing in international trade publications.
Today, according to her website, she writes fiction and non-fiction from her Kalamazoo home, reads a wide variety of literature, spends time on local Earth-care projects and volunteers at Michigan lighthouses.
“I attended my first Booked-For-Lunch in May and found it entertaining and informative,” said Joe David, president of the Friends board. “I love to get to ‘peek under the hood’ to learn how the author came up with and developed the book’s concept and to gain some insight into themes.”
The Lake and the Lost Girl tells the story of secrets from the past that are unraveling one family from the inside out, and of two women, separated by 60 years of history, who are determined to pursue their dreams.
Jacquelyn Vincenta will be the featured author at the October 24 Booked-For-Lunch.
The convenience of online shopping has made many of us Amazon junkies. And, whether you’re a frequent or occasional user, there’s now a way for you to ensure that Amazon donates a small portion of your eligible expenditures to the Cascade Friends of the Library.
It’s called AmazonSmile. It’s a separate website (smile.amazon.com) operated by Amazon with the same products, prices and shopping features as amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, their foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice, at no extra cost to you.
So, if you use Amazon and would like to support the library at no cost to you, here’s all you have to do:
1. Type smile.amazon.com into your web browser and hit enter.
2. Select the charitable organization you would like the donation to go to by keying Cascade Friends of the Library (in Grand Rapids, MI) into the search bar and then clicking on our name.
3. Start shopping.
You only have to go through the set-up the first time. After that it will default to the Friends as your charitable organization of choice. But, you might want to bookmark the site, because it will be easy to forget that you have to go to the smile.amazon.com site for your shopping if you want the donation to apply.
You can only have one designated charity. So, if you are already using AmazonSmile and would like to switch your charity of preference to the Friends, the website can walk you through that procedure.
One half of one percent isn’t a lot. But, at the risk of overwhelming you with clichés, “It’s better than nothing,” and “Every little bit helps.” Plus, if many of our members use it, it could add up over time.
So, “Here’s Smilin’ at ya, kid.”
If you already shop at Amazon, try smile.amazon.com and designate Cascade Friends of the Library.
The Friends’ Board of Directors is looking for a volunteer to fill the role of Secretary. The primary responsibility of the role is to capture and distribute the minutes of the Board of Directors meetings. The Board meets once a month at 1 pm on Mondays for two hours at the Cascade Township library.
If you’re good at taking notes that you can actually understand later, you’re fully qualified. But, even if you’re not, we have use of an app that will record and transcribe the meetings. The secretary would then need to edit the transcription down to manageable size, eliminating non-essential dialogue.
And, of course, the Secretary is a voting member of the Board, with a platform to help influence the priorities and future direction of the Friends’ organization.
If you’re interested in the role or simply would like more information, please send an email to Joe David, board president, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Friends' Board needs a new secretary to record meeting minutes. Might it be you?
It’s not unusual to make a special “find” when you’re sorting through donated books in the basement of the Cascade library as a volunteer for the Friends. But, it IS unusual when that find is a long lost copy of a book you had a hand in designing.
And, that’s what super volunteer Linda Lampert experienced recently when she serendipitously came across a cookbook she had helped design for the B’nai B’rith Women of Grand Rapids in 1987. Linda’s contribution to the book was the cover and inside illustration designs.
“This was a dream find for me,” she said. “I was sooo excited that I started screaming and calling everyone over to see my find. Other copies of the book had been lost, and I didn’t have any left.”
Linda is no stranger to graphic design, having graduated from Kendall School of Design in 1970. And, she is no stranger to the Friends either, offering volunteer assistance at book sales, helping sort books and doing anything else she can to help.
Buried treasure can turn up in the most unexpected places…like at the bottom of a cart of donated books. You just have to keep your eyes open, so you don’t miss it.
Linda Lampert is shown here with the cookbook she designed and found in a cart of donated books.