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The Friends of the Oak Park Public Library’s annual book sale last weekend was, as always, a hit. This time, however, the sale was a bit too popular for its own good – and its new, smaller space.

With construction consuming the sale’s historic home in OPRF’s cafeteria, the sale was moved to the former Oak Park Volvo dealership at 260 Madison, a much smaller space without the perks of the high school’s sprawling hallways and atriums for crowd management.

Friday night was particularly packed, with checkout lines stretching at one point from end-to-end in the Volvo space.

“It was not an easy time for people who wanted to buy books,” said Steve Kirshenbaum, president of the Friends of the Oak Park Public Library. “It was just so overly crowded that it was hard to browse. There were lines snaking through the tables.”

The difficulty of buying books may have discouraged some patrons, he said. Overall sales were down to somewhere between $45,000 and $48,000 this year, whereas last year’s sale yielded about $59,000.

On top of that, there was the cost of renting an air-conditioning unit for the building – an expense that wasn’t as great at OPRF.

Overall, though, Kirshenbaum says the donations to the library will be about where they were three to four years ago, before the sale raised its prices for hardcover books from $2 to $3.

“Our sales were better than I thought they would be, and the amount of money is better than I thought it would be,” he said. “I’m most impressed with the Village of Oak Park. They bent over backwards to provide a location. I can’t thank them enough.”

The print version of this story incorrectly listed Steve Kirshenbaum as Daniel Kirshenbaum. Wednesday Journal regrets the error.

 

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