Early in 1958 the new Los Altos Library was in dire need of books to fill its shelves. Friends of the Library responded by collecting books, but many of the books contributed were not of library quality. So the Friends organized a sale and contributed the proceeds to the library. We have been selling donated books ever since.
Our first book sale was held at Rancho Shopping Center, grossing $146. Through the years we held sales in parking lots, orchards and vacant buildings. With support from the City of Los Altos we now hold quarterly sales at the Hillview Community Center. We also introduced an ongoing sale of books in our libraries and we also sell books online on Amazon.
We have come a long way since 1958! Today over 600 households and individuals support the Los Altos Library through membership in the Friends. Of these, over 200 individuals are active volunteers. Each week we process over 4,500 donated books in our new space within the Main Library, sorting the books into over 20 categories, pricing each book for the ongoing, internet or quarterly book sales. In addition, volunteers maintain our Amazon online sales, the sale shelves in our libraries and the Friends' Cafe in the main library lobby (when pandemic restrictions are relaxed and it is permitted to reopen). These activities make it possible to contribute over $100,000 each year to support the Los Altos Libraries. For more information see our Annual Report.
The Friends look forward to continuing to raise funds for our libraries and working with the library staff. Plus, we look forward to helping the City of Los Altos in expanding and modernizing the library building to meet the needs of our library patrons. To do so depends upon the donations of books, CDs and DVDs as well as the tireless efforts and devotion of our members.
The future has a number of uncertainties. Will new volunteers step forward? What will be the effect of e-books upon donation levels? How will streaming affect the contributions of CDs and DVDs? You can join us and help us continue to support our libraries!