The reopening of Books Around the Corner remains an uncertainty, but one Friends of the Sun City Libraries continues and appears to be picking up steam.
During a July 9 Zoom meeting, the Friends board discussed possible reopening dates for the used book store it operates in the Sun City branch library. While members had hoped to reopen as early as September, they decided to wait to make a firm decision.
“I think we should wait until our August meeting to discuss the book store reopening,” said Mary Anne McDonald, the book store manager.
The Friends board normally does not meet during the summer, but members believes under the circumstance it was necessary to do so this year. The book store, which provides a large portion of the Friends income, is operated entirely by volunteers. The Friends organization provide support to the two Sun City libraries — at Bell Center, 16828 N. 99th Ave., and Fairway Center, 10600 W. Peoria Ave. — and conducts a variety of programs that promote reading.
When the book store does open, volunteer staff is prepared with precautions against the coronavirus, which prompted the store closure. Ms. McDonald said a table will be placed in front of the counter and there has been discussion of installing plexiglass shields. Staff also has a supply of masks, gloves and sanitizers.
“We would like to open as soon as possible, but we really should wait until the (COVID-19 case) curve flattens,” Ms. McDonald said.
Sue Blechl, Friends board president, said Brianna King, Sun City branch manager for the Maricopa County Library District, said the book store could open at any time. The two Sun City library branches are open 8-10 a.m. Monday-Thursday and 5-7 p.m. Tuesdays for patrons to do quick pickups of materials they have on hold. No other library services are available at this time, Ms. King said.
“I think we should take out cue from the library,” Ms. Blechl said. “We should open a month after they do.”
The book store received $12,500 in gross receipts from the first of the year to the March closure, according to Jessica Potter-Slider, Friends treasurer.
“Based on last year’s figures, we could have received more than $13,000 more by now if the book store had remained open,” she said.
The loss of revenue has not put the agency in a bind, though. Ms. Potter-Slider said there was plenty in the bank, and the Recreation Centers of Sun City officials refunded the agency $5,846 for monies paid for room reservations for Friends activities that were never used due to RCSC facility shutdowns.
While the book store remains closed, the Friends’ Book Buddies program restarted earlier this month. The program has volunteers delivering books to home bound residents.
“We signed up two new readers and one volunteer,” said Monica Fallon, Book Buddies coordinator.
She added there are three volunteers currently delivering books. Contact with program patrons is nonexistent as delivered books are left on the client’s doorstep after the volunteer notifies them of the imminent delivery. Books come from the Sun City library branches, where they all materials to be loaned out are sanitized both before they go out and upon their return.