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Originally published Monday, August 13, 2012 at 5:40 AM

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Friends of the Library book sale displaced

The fall Friends of the Library book sale at Magnuson Park won't be held this year, as the Friends organization moves out and looks for a new home.

Seattle Times book editor

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Lit life |

It's safe to say that friends, fans and patrons of the Seattle Public Library were breathing easier at the end of last week. The city ballot measure to enhance library funding through a special tax levy passed with a 62 percent approval rate. The $123 million, seven-year levy on property taxes will restore library-service hours, rebuild collections and maintain buildings neglected over the past four years of city budget cuts.

Meanwhile, another treasured part of the city-library operation, the fall Friends of the Library book sale at Magnuson Park, won't be held this year, as the Friends organization moves out and looks for a new home.

The Friends organization, a nonprofit group that supports the library, is leaving Building 30 at Magnuson Park, which has hosted the sales for several years. The sales will continue but at an interim and yet-to-be determined location.

After the city of Seattle developed plans for renovating Building 30, the organization was given a Sept. 30 deadline for packing up and moving out. Renovation begins Oct. 1 and may last for as long as nine months. With the deadline of Sept. 30, "it just wasn't going to be feasible to have the big sale," said Sarah Kohut, Friends board member.

The organization is looking for a temporary location, both for its offices and for upcoming sales, and hopes to announce something soon. It's not clear whether it will be feasible for the organization to move back to Magnuson Park when renovations are complete. Volunteers hope the sales can continue in Building 30, once renovations are complete.

Seattle bibliophiles count on the sales to replenish their collections of books, CDs, DVDs, audio books, videos, sheet music, art prints and posters. Folks like me who read way too much count on the library as a donation location — every branch of the public library accepts book donations, and they go to the sale.

Kohut says the group plans a holiday sale and one other sale before the end of the year. They're looking for help. "We would love to have volunteers to help us out at the new space and accept donations for the new sales," she said.

The sales are a significant source of fundraising for the library — Friends treasurer Lori Cleaves says the organization raised about $425,000 last year through the book sales.

As the organization makes its move, collections of donated books will continue. Library patrons can still give books to library branches, limited to three boxes per individual donation. The Friends aren't currently accepting books at Magnuson Park, but expect to announce a new donation location when they find their new home.

In other library news: If you were thinking the levy has canceled out the hated (my opinion) library shutdown week of Aug. 27-Sept. 3, well, you'll have to be patient. The shutdown was already built in to the 2012 budget. There will be no shutdowns in 2013, when hours at branches will also be restored.

All locations will be open on Sundays starting in January. The library will also raise its "holds" (placing items on reserve) limit from 25 holds per patron to 50 holds per patron, said library spokesman Andra Addison.

Mary Ann Gwinn: 206-464-2357 or Gwinn appears every Tuesday on TVW's "Well Read," discussing books with host Terry Tazioli (go to for archived episodes). On Twitter @gwinnma.

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