Many public libraries across the country rely on a nonprofit "friends" group that helps with fundraising and covers the cost of programs or services not addressed in a library's official municipal budget. For the Friends of the Paulden Public Library, much of that additional funding comes from selling second-hand books. But what happens if you have no place to warehouse your volumes of Tom Clancy, Sue Grafton or Stephen King? That was a very real concern for Paulden Friends group after it started asking for book donations. The group has a mini "book store" inside the library where books are sold to the public, but there was no place to store the thousands of donations that came pouring in during their initial book drives.
Fortunately for the group, Board members Richard and Mary Jo Boller stepped up, generously offering their home as a place to store and process books. The couple even hosted a few book garage sales. But the situation wasn't sustainable, and after some health issues, the Bollers needed to step back from their participation. "We knew we had to find a new location to store and process the donations and came up with the idea of a book barn" said Board member Peter Atonna. "This would not be a public facility, but a place to safely store donations, sort and process them and then have them available to take to sales functions."
The group applied for funds from the United Way of Yavapai County, and in addition to winning a grant for the portable building, they also received a donation of land from the Levie Family Foundation on which to place the structure. Finally, in order to protect the book barn, which sits alone on a residential parcel in an area with lots of foot and vehicular traffic, the UWYC paid for a security fence.
Soon the book barn was in business. Our own Nina Seim, Finance and Community Investment Manager at UWYC, got to wield the big scissor at the book barn ribbon cutting this fall. Making the event even sweeter was that the Bollers, who had done so much to help the Friends begin this project, were able to attend. "We have had several large donations of books from estates which we would have had to turn away previously due to our inability to store and process them for selling," said Friends board member Terri McPherson. "No words can express how much we appreciate the support of United Way and what a difference this has made for us."