North Bend Public Library. Courtesy photo

North Bend Public Library. Courtesy photo

North Bend book sale goes digital

Friends of North Bend Library will be selling books to help fund library programs.

As libraries remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Friends of North Bend Library are getting creative with their fall book sale.

The group is running the sale entirely online this fall, said Sandra Millison with Friends of North Bend Library. Their book sales are normally held each spring and fall, and raise funds for children and adult programs at the library. During a normal year, they can raise as much as $6,000 during a book sale.

But as libraries across King County remain shuttered to reduce transmission of the coronavirus, they weren’t able to do an in-person sale.

“We usually have about 150 boxes of books that have been donated by the community throughout the year,” Millison said.

This year, they’re taking pictures of bags of books for buyers. They’re being sold at a reduced rate of 50 cents for paperbacks and one dollar for hardcover books. Books can be purchased through the Friends of North Bend Library Facebook page, or by emailing ginny_irish@yahoo.com.

Millison said the sales have been a hit, especially for parents who are staying at home with their children during the pandemic.

“For this first iteration of what we’re doing now, we’ve sold quite a few children’s books,” she said.

The revenue also helps to fund popular programs for children. Millison said one such program lets children drop off a favorite stuffed animal overnight at the library. The librarian sets the stuffed animal up with a cozy place to spend the night, and sends them photos or videos of their plush friends hanging out in the library during the sleepover.

Libraries across King County were shuttered last March as COVID-19 cases spiked across the state. The county was approved to enter Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s plan to reopen the economy in June, but libraries will remain closed for in-person public use until the county enters Phase 3.

And until the county hits Phase 4, large public gatherings, in-library events and private meeting and study rooms will remain closed.

However, libraries in June and July resumed some services, like book dropoffs and curbside delivery services.

The library system closure is unprecedented. There hasn’t been a system-wide shutdown since King County Library System was formed during World War II.

Library staff has been conducting training and hosting digital story times and online programming. Several libraries were also slated to receive a WiFi upgrade for their buildings, which will boost the signal beyond their parking lots.

Libraries are a critical link for homeless residents. It provides them a vital link to get services and connect with others.

The budget for audio and ebooks was also increased earlier this year. At the beginning of the pandemic, the library system added more than $350,000 to its digital media budget.

In 2018, more than 4.8 million digital ebooks were checked out from the library system. It saw the most digital books checked out in the U.S., and the third most around the world.


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