Library Friends Make Space by Cutting Prices

Sorting area reduced to accommodate Library for the Blind
A cart full of gift-quality books at the Friends of the Library.

A cart full of gift-quality books at the Friends of the Library bookshop.

The Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library receives over 200,000 books every year, but they found out on Dec. 4 that the area they use for sorting them will soon be shrinking by half. The other half of the space that they use currently will be needed to accommodate equipment and materials from the Washtenaw Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled, which the AADL recently assimilated. Part of the strategy to ease the space crunch is to suspend acceptance of donations effective immediately. Expect to see signage in the library to that effect soon.

But the other part of the plan is to reconfigure the existing bookshop layout to display more books, as well as to cut prices in half. Prices for hardcover and trade paperbacks will be cut from $2 to $1, and mass paperbacks will drop from $.50 to $.25.

Janis Detlefs, who works with the Friends, let The Chronicle inside the bookshop yesterday morning to get a peek at some of the new layout for the bookshop. The bookshop area is separate from the sorting area and won’t be reduced as a part of the new configuration. She described how additional bookshelves would be lining the center of the shop to make room for more books.

shows the Chronicle where the new shelving units will go.

Janis Detlefs shows The Chronicle where the new shelving units will go.

But she also said that a fairly rigorous culling of existing materials would be taking place. Alphabetized fiction, for example, wouldn’t disappear entirely, but it would be afforded less space. Likewise for videos in VHS format.

Detlefs said that the relatively short time frame came from the fact that the requirements for fire codes – the need to have 36-inch aisle ways, for example – hadn’t initially been factored into the planning. But Detlefs stressed that “we’re not being evicted or anything,” and said that the library had been very cooperative and was providing logistical and labor support. The reconfiguration of the sorting area needs to be finished by Jan. 5, she said.

Customers of the bookshop will notice the new pricing and new layout starting the next time the bookshop opens on Sat., Dec. 13 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sun., Dec 14 from 1-4 p.m. The following weekend there will be a $3 bag sale on selected items.

A German first reader printed in Fraktur style

A German first reader printed in Fraktur style. There aren't many older books like this one at the bookshop, and The Chronicle has its eye on this one. Readers who want it better show up early next weekend.

Images from otherwise unusable books get recycled into holiday cards.

Images from otherwise unusable books get recycled into holiday cards and are available for purchase at the bookshop.

Section: Business, Education

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One Comment

  1. By Janis L. Detlefs
    December 21, 2008 at 9:14 pm | permalink

    Thank you – I enjoyed this article. It was accurate and well done. I bought the German notebook, if you want it you can have it, but let me know, – I will gift it to you. If you don’t want it then I have a German friend who will get it, but you have first right of refusal.Have a nice holiday.

    P.S. Maybe put a notice in your paper? Non-profits can get free books that were leftover from our bag sale this Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 23 & 24th if they come to the bookshop 10-4. I will be there and can help them. I have contacted some non-profits and teachers but if you know of any more they are welcome to come in and see what is left. They should just come to the bookshop. Jan Detlefs