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Librarians stretch book budget at Goodwill



Melodie Sivadon Reader and Kristin Haddock are longtime friends who love shopping at Goodwill for themselves -- and for work.

Last month, they came to the Goodwill Southwest Boulevard Store to buy books for the Bartlett-Carnegie Sapulpa Public Library, where they are librarians.

“We enjoy shopping at Goodwill, as they have a great selection of gently-used and new books at a great price,” said Melodie, Children & Young Adult librarian. “Low prices help stretch our book purchasing budget, which means we may purchase more books. This, in turn, makes both our patrons and librarians very happy."

The two librarians recognize the dual benefit of their Goodwill trips. The library restocks its collection with more books, and the purchases support Goodwill’s work in the community. Goodwill provides job training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities or other disadvantages.

The librarians’ book budget was $1,500. Kristin, assistant librarian at Sapulpa Public Library, had brought a 10-page shopping list.

“I was able to check off a lot,” she said.

They filled several tote bins with easy readers for kids, chapter reading level books, and young adult books, both fiction and non-fiction. For adult books, their selections ran the gamut of romance, Christian fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery with varied fiction thrown in.

A Goodwill trip really pays off when they are able to find a missing book in a series that a library patron has been eager to read. The librarians keep their eyes open for manga and graphic novels, which are also popular among patrons. They will sometimes pick up DVDs and videos.

Just as it is for other thrift shoppers, the joy is finding unexpected gems. For Melodie and Kristin, those can be recent releases in nearly new condition, large print editions and Westerns.

“We have so much fun,” Melodie said of the Goodwill shopping trips.

The librarians said they do have to shop other bookstores, primarily for the latest releases. They also thoroughly appreciate the donated books they receive. However, they are trying to meet circulation demands for inside and outside the library (such as nursing homes). So, in the face of tightening budgets and cutbacks, they have to make the book budget go further.

For similar reasons, teachers, homeschoolers and many other educators use Goodwill as a resource for classroom materials. Our “Book Nooks” are neat and well organized so that shoppers can easily find what they need. We can offer a great variety of book genres and authors because of the generosity of our donors. We ship approximately 17,800 books a week to our 11 stores. Each and every one of those is needed to keep our book sections well-stocked. 

With no more room in the trunks of the librarians’ cars, but plenty of space left in their spending budget, a return trip was definitely in order. “We look forward to returning to Goodwill to complete the final purchases for our PO in the next few weeks,” Melodie said.


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