Bibliophiles Spread the Love!
The 2006 ALISS Book Sale

by Jennifer Ander, MLIS Day

Tim helps spread the love.

The annual ALISS Book Sale was held over Valentine’s Day, and love was in the air! Organized each year by the ALISS secretary, the proceeds from the book sale go to fund the Information School’s Spring Fling. Donations of all types of media (this year’s sale included DVDs, CDs, books, magazines, games, VHS tapes, software, PlayStation games, and cassette tapes!) are gathered for approximately six weeks before the sale, where they are stored in an undisclosed location until the book sale. The key to a successful book sale is a generous team of volunteers. In an effort to ensure a truly off-the-hook bash for the 2004 cohort, ALISS secretary Reese Coffin resorted to a time-honored tactic: begging.

Coffin placed donation boxes throughout the UW campus libraries and Mary Gates Hall. Coffin even went above and beyond the call of duty, wrangling friends with cars into driving around to pick up donations in person! Thanks to the voluminous donations from students—including iSchool alumni who know “it’s hard out here for an MLIS”—faculty, and staff, there were enough items to interest even the most discerning shoppers. “Disc 3 of Season 4 of ‘M*A*S*H’?!” Exclaimed one excited customer. “I’ve been looking for this forever!”

Coffin enlisted fellow MLIS students Adam Jackman and Jennifer Ander to help with the begging. Jackman oversaw the marketing campaign, which included strategically placed flyers and two heavy (though not for Jackman) sandwich board signs advertising the book sale. Ander bombarded the MLIS listservs with pleas for volunteers and formed a volunteer army chiefly by promising them mini muffins (which, several volunteers were quick to point out, never appeared). Thanks to the aid of the nearly 30 volunteers, the book sale ran like a democratic transition in a formerly dictatorial state—only smoother. And with less bloodshed.

Shawn Kilburn and Aaron Bowen in action.

Remaining donated items were re-donated to future book sales, prison libraries, the i-Arts program, and the homes of stalwart volunteers. The final profit total (less commission fees and Coffin’s limo costs) for the book sale quoted by ALISS treasurer Brian Greene was $2633.26. Looking up from the piles of cash, Greene noted, “But this figure doesn’t include the Canadian coins we wound up with. Or the Euros. Or the baggie of buttons. That guy was weird.”

While ALISS thanks all the hard-working volunteers who made the book sale happen, it was Coffin’s selflessness determination and plaintive please that pulled it all together While many expected her to collapse due to the sheer stress of orchestrating the book sale, Coffin held up surprisingly well, even managing to find time to donate blood, rescue an injured golden retriever she passed on her way to school, and place fourth in the Boston Marathon. Due to the success of the 2006 ALISS book sale, the incoming ALISS officers will receive a sizeable inheritance to guarantee a truly memorable ALISS-sponsored Spring Fling.


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Page last updated: April 18, 2006