An East Lansing Sunday Tailgate for Book-Lovers

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Gary Caldwell for ELi

One of the proposals slated for the November 8 ballot is a renewal of the East Lansing Public Library Millage.

The Friends of the East Lansing Public Library (FOELPL) invite all book lovers to their second used book sale ‘tailgate’ event this coming Sunday, Oct.11, from noon to 3 p.m., rescheduled due to rain on Oct. 4,. Taking place in the library parking lot, which is located at 950 Abbot Rd., the socially-distant event encourages masked readers of all ages to browse books safely outside.

The mission of the organization is to support the ELPL by supplementing the budget, advocating for libraries, and encouraging reading and literacy both in and outside of the library.

In a typical year, FOELPL contributes $30,000 to $40,000 annually to the library’s budget, purchases furniture, and helps in areas where support is most needed. This year, though, given the challenges of the pandemic, they’re expected to be short on funds.

President of FOELPL, Maureen McCabe-Power, spoke to ELi about the first tailgate book sale last month, saying, “We decided to try a parking lot tailgate sale (selling books from the tailgates of our cars) and did so on Saturday, Sept. 12. We had a great turnout, and raised just under $2,000. We thank the community for their support.”

Photo courtesy of Maureen McCabe-Power

Residents browse books at FOELPL’s first tailgate sale.

The support is especially vital during this time, since Covid-19 has forced Marsha’s Friendshop, a used-book store located in the ELPL, to close since March 16. Typically, volunteers stocked the shelves with donated books, magazines, puzzles, purses, art, and more.

“This has been catastrophic for the Friends of the ELPL as our usual $3,000 to $4,000 monthly shop revenue stopped,” said McCabe-Power. “While volunteers continue to sell on eBay and Etsy, and generous donors have continued to make cash donations, for which we are grateful, we cannot accept book donations nor are we able to sell from our shop.”

Shoppers on Sunday are required to wear masks and will receive a bag that they can fill for $10. Individual books are also for sale, with hardcovers for $1.00, paperbacks for $0.50, and mass market fiction books for $0.25. Gently-used purses will also be for sale. FOELPL masks will be sold – $10 for adults and $8 for children – along with tote bags for $3.

“As in our previous sale, we will have anthologies and classics, fiction – general, romance, mystery, children’s books (picture, easy-reader and chapter books), self-help, education, business, history, sports, games, cooking, art and architecture, religion, etc. We will not have periodicals or any audio visual materials,” McCabe-Power said.

The tailgates are not the first fundraisers that FOELPL has held during the pandemic. The organization previously partnered with Noodles & Company in downtown East Lansing. The restaurant donated 50 percent of all purchases made between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on June 10 to FOELPL.

The financial support is crucial to the community. “Supporting the Friends of the Library is supporting the East Lansing Public Library – a resource we all and I mean all love and respect as the gathering place for learning in our community,” explained McCabe-Power.

While masks are required, FOELPL will provide masks and hand sanitizer for those in need. Again, the tailgate style book sale runs from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11 in the parking lot of the ELPL.

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