Albert Lea Public Library

I have the pleasure of volunteering at the Fountain Lake Bookstore just one day a month, but what a fun time it is!! I love it!
First, some background history about the place. Back when the city was remodeling the city offices and the library, three women, Carol Held, Grace Haukoos and Jane Hofkamp had an idea that could help raise money for the Children’s Library.
They thought that a bookstore could be a way of raising funds. They bought used furniture; a desk, shelving, and book carts, at sales, for less than $100.00. Books were donated and resold or recycled depending on their condition.  For the first three years, these three gals took on the task of carving out a space on the lower level of the city office building that could be used to sell donated books for very little cost to customers. The money would be used for needs that were not covered by other funds at the library.

Albert Lea Public Library

As a member of both groups, Carol Held was instrumental in joining the Fountain Lake Bookstore and the Friends of the Library.
In the fourth year, the Friends of the Library took over the bookstore and since then have added more volunteers and kept the idea rolling. They have a board of Directors who help to direct the spending of monies raised.
Today there are many, many volunteers who give 3 hours in the morning or afternoon four days a week- Monday through Thursday, to serve the patrons of the bookstore. So far, in 2016, the Friends of the Library have raised and donated $ 10,595.65 to the library helping to cover the cost of special speakers for children and adults, supply computer hotspots and other reading programs.

From a simple “little” idea has sprung a wonderful, generous and painless way of raising money to improve our library! It’s amazing when you think of the fact that books are sold very cheaply. Hard covers are $2.00, paper backs are $1.00 and children’s books are $0.50!!

Albert Lea Public Library

If you would like to offer a few hours of your time for a very worthy project, stop by anytime and visit with one of the volunteers or drop your name and number into the donation box. You will be contacted and asked how you would like to help. You could also find a one day spot to help with the Fall Book Sale on Friday, October 21 between 12-6pm or Saturday, October 22 between 9am – noon. Both days are open to the public. I hope you’ll find a place to be involved in this very worthwhile experience!!

About Glen Parsons

Glen Parsons is Experience Albert Lea's Community Concierge. If you need help getting connected in Albert Lea, he's the guy to contact. Glen is a retired elementary teacher who spent his career in Albert Lea. He contributes to the Experience Albert Lea blog and is active in the Albert Lea Community Theater.

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