In a gesture of good faith, the Ashland Public Library book sale is benefiting the Ashland Public School Library System. Budget cuts in the school library system are deep and the sale hopes to make a difference.
The Ashland Public Library is holding a book sale to benefit the Ashland School District's libraries, returning a past favor from schools to the library.
The public library was closed from April to October in 2007 and Ashland Public Library Manager Amy Blossom said the Ashland school libraries stepped up to help. Blossom heard the school district's budget would be getting severe cuts and decided to help.
"There was concern, especially in the summer reading program for the kids," Blossom said. "Reports prove that children who continue to read through the summer do better in school."
In 2007, area school libraries were opened to the public on a rotating basis, filling the need for children as well as adults.
"The school libraries decided to open, which they normally don't," Blossom said. "Different schools were open on different days. The city paid for some librarians to work and many teachers offered to volunteer."
The result was a coordination between the city, schools and the Friends of the Ashland Public Library which allowed for limited library services to be offered. Many children, as well as adults, took advantage of the opportunity.
During that period, the friends of the library brought both adult and children's books to the school libraries for people to take, free of charge. Although it was only a couple of hours a day, "It was something," Blossom said.
Bill Street of the Ashland High School Library is a victim of the budget cuts. His position went from full-time to part-time, and a middle school library position was also cut as a result.
"What the public library is doing benefits the Ashland Schools Foundation," Street said. "The foundation is raising money to supplement the cuts in the budget."
Street said the budget cuts will affect the level of services offered by the libraries.
"There will be a dramatic effect on our program," he said. "People that have done this job over the last 15 years acquired skills during this time. Now people are being replaced with those of very little experience. We are losing the continuity and experience built up over the years."
The sale is generating better-than-expected results.
"We are getting more donations than normal," Blossom said. "In the first four days of the sale we collected around $300, which is what we normally make in a month during our normal sales. This is great for us."
The book sale at the library continues through May 3. New books are added to the selection on a daily basis. Purchasers are encouraged to be generous, as there is no set price for the books.
"People can pay what they want," Blossom said "We are relying on their generosity. Right now, there are around 600 books, and we are adding to it daily."