Friends of A.K. Smiley Public Library, a non-profit organization, is excited to get back to reading with the community. Friends of A.K. Smiley Library has been around since 1973 to help fund the historic AK Smiley Public Library in Redlands. Their three goals are to communicate with the community, augment financial resources for the library, and plan and organize events.
“Once we re-opened we’ve received so many book donations from the public. My guess is during the pandemic everyone started clearing out and getting rid of their old books. We’ve been the beneficiary and we’re grateful for our donations,” shared Rebecca McCurdy, Vice President, Friends of A.K. Smiley Library.
Since 1973 Friends of A.K. Smiley Public Library has sold books and hosted events to help raise funds for the historic Library.
“We have numerous events throughout the year at our bookstore, as well as at the Contemporary Club and Smiley Park. These events wouldn’t happen without the efforts of our volunteers,” explained Rebecca McCurdy.
One of the events is their bag sale that takes place on the first Saturday of each month. Customers bring in a grocery bag and fill it up with books, the cost for members is $5, for non-members $6. Customers can fill up as many bags as they want.
“We’ve missed the human connection that events like our bag sale bring,” expressed McCurdy. “We love engaging with customers, and events like our bag sale are a big hit.”
One of their other popular fundraisers is the silent auction. Friends of A.K. Smiley Public Library present their silent auctions every two weeks. A bidder may match the asking price and consequently, anyone else can put in a higher bid thereafter.
“Our silent auctions are fun. Some examples of books we auction are old, rare, and specialty sets,” explained McCurdy.
Friends of A.K. Smiley Public Library had over 1,000 members before the shutdown, now they only have about 600.
“This pandemic did affect us quite a bit, we are seeing members come back now though,” shared McCurdy. “Members get half off books, the cost to sign up starts at $10 and they can sign up at aksmileybookstore.com.”
While the pandemic did negatively affect the bookstore, there was a positive that came of it – now fans of the bookstore can purchase books online at Smile.Amazon.com, the link can be found at their website listed above. “With the pandemic, we had to get creative, so we started to sell some books on Amazon. I love the idea, but I still want people to pop in to say hi,” concluded McCurdy.