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Friends of the Guelph Public Library fundraising hits $1 million

The book sale used to raise money for the Guelph Public Library runs Sept. 20 to 24

The community book sale put on by Friends of the Guelph Public Library (FGPL) since 2007 has raised $1 million.

The money will go to help the Guelph Public Library (GPL) with current programming and be used for programming once the new main library is built.

Since the first sale in 2007 FGPL asked, “will we have another one? Will we find a space? Will we make more than we made last year? Will we crack $100,000?" said Virginia Gillham, former chair of FGPL.

“The money has been invested in the Guelph Community Foundation and here we are in 2023 with a million dollars for the new library,” said Gillham.

The $1 million was presented to GPL CEO Steven Kraft on Monday at the book sale location on 69 Huron St. The sale takes place Sept. 20 to Sept. 24.

“Over the 15 years, we've sold about 800,000 books to approximately 70,000 clients over that time,” said Ian Findlay, current chair of FGPL.

In terms of what kind of programming the money will help support, Kraft said he envisions “a larger speaker series where we can get more well known authors.”

“I try to tell people, we are a large urban library in a large urban city. And there are expectations, so we have to deliver to that audience,” Kraft said.

He thinks the new library can do just that.

“It was one of those things where each year we got into bigger location, bigger location, and so on. And now we're back into a smaller place. It's a bit disappointing on that level, but we're still doing it. And we'll we'll be happy to accept whatever is the income that's generated  from this, because we know it's going to support the public library,” said Linda Kearns, e-communications and marketing for FGPL.

For many years the book sale was in a 30,000 sq/ft space and for the last two years it has been in a 10,000 sq/ft space.

It is difficult to find a space with a minimum of 10,000 sq/ft, said Sandi Wilkes, sorting coordinator for the book sale.

“I hope one more year here after that I'm afraid. I'm afraid because we have had such a hard time trying to find a different location than here,” said Wilkes. 

We can possibly get this space again next year, said Wilkes. She said she is worried next year may be the last year they can host the book sale unless they can find an appropriately sized space.

Before the pandemic the sale was close to achieving the $1 million mark. It was then put on hiatus for two years. The sale started again in 2022 to achieve the funding milestone.


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Santana Bellantoni

About the Author: Santana Bellantoni

Santana Bellantoni was born and raised in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. As a general assignment reporter for Guelph Today she is looking to discover the communities, citizens and quirks that make Guelph a vibrant city.
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