The Used Book Sale benefiting the Alameda Free Library was started more than forty years ago by Gert and Pete Woods and Adair Jorgensen. The donation room was in the basement of the Carnegie Library (added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 25, 1982) and the twice-yearly sale was held at Wood Middle School for many years, moving to the O’Club on the naval base as the sale outgrew Wood School. When the new Main Library was built a decade ago, a separate space was provided to the dedicated volunteers who are able to accept donations through the entrance on Times Way.
There have always been two primary goals of our Used Book Sale: To support Alameda Library programs monetarily and to provide affordable books to the people of Alameda, along with providing residents the opportunity to pass on their books to new readers. Proceeds from the sale help fund art docent lectures, the purchase of new equipment, Alameda Reads, and other reading programs.
Our semi-annual book sales are extremely popular, drawing hundreds of attendees to each event, many of whom say it’s always their favorite time of the year! For many years the Alameda Fire department helped us move close to 900+ book boxes, and in the past six years US Coast Guard members have been doing the heavy lifting. Not only do shoppers count on the sale, so do the volunteers who look forward to working (and shopping) the sale year after year. Alameda teachers also benefit from the special teacher preview sale on Friday afternoon.
The key to the whole operation is the devoted volunteer team who work tirelessly in the donation room all year round sorting, categorizing, pricing and boxing books for the sales. Many of our volunteers are senior citizens that have worked on these sales since the beginning. We have seen their children and grandchildren continue the tradition. Our team is enthusiastic, committed, and we love books!