Have you ever wondered where the books go when the Houston Public Library weeds their collections? We had not ever thought about it, but Friends of the Houston Public Library thought about it, and they decided to h with all of those books. We delved into the catalogs to find out more about this group that has been around since 1953.ave
Friends of the Houston Public Library
The Houston Public Library has over 40 branches, and when they go through those books, they give them to the Friends of the Houston Public Library. The Friends of the Houston Public Library collect the books over the year and then turn around and sell them and donate the money back to the Houston Public Library. The Friends of the Houston Public Library have been having four sales a year for almost 60 years, and one sale is purely for children’s books.
Volunteers work year-round in our book-sorting warehouse to get ready for these sales. Over 100 different people volunteer more than 2,000 hours, scanning and sorting books culled from the Houston Public Library’s collection and donated by the public. The books come from the Central Library, 3 Special Collection Libraries including the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, the Clayton Center for Genealogical Research and the African-American Library at the Gregory School, 4 Regional Libraries, 31 Neighborhood Libraries, 4 Express libraries, 1 Mobile Express Library, and 1 Satellite Library (located at the Children’s Museum).
Each sale consists of roughly 20,000 to 25,000 books, and the books are also sold online during the year. In fact, Rice University did a project and found some software that is used to scan each book to tell its worth. If the book meets a certain threshold, it is sent to Amazon.com, and they sell the book. The book sorting operation is located in one part of the Chase Bank Building at 6510 W. Little York in northwest Houston.
During the year, books are also donated to non-profits and hospitals and recycled as well. But, what makes these events so great is that people who can’t afford to have a library of books for themselves or their kids can for $3 and less per book. And, these sales can raise as much as $18,000 each and the online sales raise roughly $180,000 over the year.
The Friends of the Houston Public Library runs on volunteers and donations, and they don’t just collect books from the branches of the Houston Public Library. They also provide support and resources for Library programs such as the Summer Reading Program for children, ASPIRE after-school programs, and cultural programming and activities for the entire community. The Friends supports Library staff through scholarships for advanced degrees in Library Science, employee recognition programs, staff recruitment, and training and development.
If you are looking for a great way to get involved and you love books, check out Friends of the Houston Public Library. They truly are just vibing.