Cottage Grove

Return of the Friends book sale

COTTAGE GROVE – We live in a town that loves its books.
We have three independent book stores on Main Street, a great public library and a vibrant volunteer group “Friends of Cottage Grove Library” all engaged in keeping book culture alive and well in town.
While printed matter may being leaned on by electronic media, my experience as a middle school teacher let me know that there is a whole segment of the younger generation that has a passion for the printed page.
If any should doubt this I would encourage you to visit one of the Cottage Grove Library reading programs or kid activities and witness the enthusiasm they have for books.
Libraries in Cottage Grove have a long, if unclear, history as to the beginnings. One of the first mentions is in January 1899 when a newspaper article requested interested parties meet in the reading room above S.R. Piper’s Hardware Store. Those who met organized a library association and solicited donations of $1 to get the project rolling.
Variously located around town including stops upstairs at the old First National Bank (now First American Title Co.) before ending up at the old city hall on 6th Street, also upstairs.
In 1949, civic minded W. A. Woodward built the brick building next door and donated it for use as a home for the wayward Cottage Grove Library. When the building was ready a wooden chute was built and books were boxed and slid down to their new home.
Life was pleasant and crowded in that home for the library until it was again time to move to bigger quarters. This time the old Safeway on Gibbs was acquired and refashioned into the Cottage Grove Public Library and Community Center. This required a huge civic effort and the donations of many citizens and local foundations.
Again the Woodward family took a leading role in making sure that Grovers had access to a public library. The new facility was dedicated in July of 2000, having moved the books in a novel way.
A chain of volunteers snaked through downtown and passed the books hand to hand from the Woodward Library to the new building. At the current library there is a video and photos of the “Book Brigade” that you can ask to see at the circulation desk.
This weekend, you will have the opportunity to both help support this long tradition of access to information and to acquire a few choice additions to your own book and media collection.
The Friends of Cottage Grove Library (FOL) will be hosting a huge book and media sale at the First Presbyterian Church in its Friendship Hal, Adams Avenue and 3rd Street,on Friday from 4-8 p.m. and Saturday from 9-5 p.m.
Friends of the Library president Bruce Kelsh described this sale as a “Return of the Book Sale.”
Before moving to the community center the sales were always held at First Presbyterian Church.
“We’ve chosen the location because it allows us greater flexibility over a week for set-up,” Kelsh said. “Our Community Center is heavily used (a great thing) and it is challenging to move the large number of books and materials, display them and then return the unsold items to storage in a short period of time.”
Kelsh also emphasized that there will be LP albums, CDs, and DVDs as well.
There is nothing quite like the excitement of poring over a lot of books and other media. Things seem to jump out at you. Titles that meant a lot to you in the past, but went missing somewhere along the path of life. Also serendipitous discoveries that you weren’t prepared for but can’t leave without. You will have the chance to do all of that but also, by your purchase, to help the FOL and the community in general.
Besides FOL members, there will be other community organizations pitching in to help. The Key Club, high school students, and other community members have stepped up to assist the FOL to stage this event. You can volunteer as well. Simply show up or give them an email at [email protected].



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