Friends of Library offer used books

Older adults look at books on bookshelves

By Christopher Leitch

The Friends of Johnson County Library want to assure you: the used book business is great.

The Friends started selling used books more than 30 years ago, and they are still going strong. Their inventory comes mostly from generous community donations, with the balance from books periodically weeded out of Johnson County Library’s circulating collection. Friends’ net proceeds are paid into the Library’s collection budget, to help the Library buy new books.

“We’re really proud of this success,” says Friends president Chris Meier. “Not only are we repurposing books in our community and giving them longer lives, we’re supporting our favorite public place: the Library!”

The Friends sell books in-person and online. They launched Pop Up Sales earlier this year at their donation processing headquarters in Lenexa. The Pop Ups are a sort-to-sell experience right at the source of the Friends broad and robust donated inventory.

A corps of dedicated volunteers scan, examine and sort gifted materials for subject and quality. A lively sale audience can generally be found at the door awaiting the weekly Saturday start time of 11:30 a.m. Friends members receive a 20% discount on the already very reasonable prices.

The Pop Ups launch was a prelude to the recent closing the two branch bookstores at Antioch and Blue Valley Libraries. After careful monitoring of sales activity at both stores, the Friends noted that sales continued to lag behind pre-pandemic levels. They made this bittersweet decision, after 26 years, so that the organization can focus resources toward its mission of supporting the Library.

Friends’ online sales are divided among international, national and local customers who peruse the broad selection on popular platforms like Amazon and eBay, and on the Friends web site, Free shipping and the Friends reasonable prices are sure to wow. Top sellers tend to be first editions or hard-to-find items like out-of-print technical manuals.

“The selection changes quickly,” says operations director Shanta Dickerson, “because we sell frequently and replace with new material that arrives every day.”

Donations ( received weekly from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday and Pop Up Sales scheduled weekly from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., also on Saturday, take place at 8279 Melrose Dr., Lenexa, in the Pine Ridge Office Park.

Christopher Leitch is community relations coordinator at Johnson County Library.