Jasper Book Cellar to close


JASPER — It’s a bittersweet announcement.

After years of selling used books out of the basement of the Jasper Library Annex — a fundraiser dubbed the Book Cellar — the Friends of the Jasper Library announced this week that the Book Cellar will close.

Although still open by appointment only, the Book Cellar will come to an end in September as the Jasper Public Library prepares to move into its new space at the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center on the corner of Third and Mill streets. There, the library will share a building with the Jasper Community Arts Commission, and the Friends group will move into a room in the library’s portion that won’t accommodate a large, ongoing book sale.

“It’s a very unique situation where we’ve had this extra building,” said Library Director Christine Golden. “Realistically, that’s not the type of space we’re going to have in the new building.”

The Book Cellar may be leaving, but the Friends group book sales will continue. Rather than being monthly, however, the group will transition to holding a book sale every three to four months. That model is used by other library Friends groups, including the Friends of the Ferdinand Library and the Friends of the Dubois Library.

Book donations will also transition from being ongoing to happening for set weeks right before a sale. Golden said the dates for donations and sales will be announced well in advance.

In September, the Jasper Friends group will host a final book sale at the Book Cellar, with details to be announced. In the meantime, people can shop the Book Cellar by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, call Betty Bobu at 812-827-8384.

Once the Jasper Public Library and the Friends group are settled into the cultural center, quarterly book sales will begin. With the new location, the book sales should be more public, Golden explained, as they will happen near the library’s main areas. The sales will also be more accessible. The cultural center will be fully ADA-compliant, whereas the basement of the annex was not.

With the transition away from the Book Cellar comes a transition for the Jasper Friends group as a whole. Before, the Friends group dedicated hours of volunteer work to the Book Cellar. Now, that time will be freed up for other activities, including a membership drive, which is planned for shortly after the library moves in to the cultural center.

Friends groups are integral to libraries, Golden explained, and membership dues — which range from $5 to $10 — are another revenue source for the groups. Each branch of the Jasper Dubois County Contractual Public Library has its own friends group. Each group donates funds to its library to help cover the cost of programming and other items that may not be covered in the library’s budget. For example, the Jasper Friends group will provide funding for a bike repair station Golden plans to install outside the cultural center.

“These are things that without the Friends groups wouldn’t happen,” Golden said.

Those interested in joining the Friends of the Jasper Library — or the groups for the Birdseye, Dubois and Ferdinand branches — can find the membership application on the library’s website at https://jdcpl.us/friends-of-the-library/.

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