Editor’s note: Every community depends on the resources and support that nonprofit agencies provide people, whether physical, material or emotional.
The Chronicle’s ongoing series, Nonprofit Spotlight, profiles the nonprofit agencies in Citrus County that exist to help make life better for us all.
To have your nonprofit organization considered for a spotlight, here’s the link to an online form you can fill out: chronicle online.com/site/forms/nonprofit_ spotlight.
Friends, not foes
The Friends of the Citrus County Library System (FOCCLS) are just that – friends.
FOCCLS was established in 2001 when three Friends of the Library groups – Central Ridge, Coastal Region and Lakes Region – joined together as a nonprofit. Later, in 2018, the Floral City Friends of the Library joined.
“Our day-to-day work focuses on raising funds for the Citrus County Library System (CCLS) through our book sales,” FOCCLS president Sandy Price said.
They also work to stimulate greater interest in local libraries, promote knowledge of functions, services, resources and needs of the library and encourage gifts, endowments and bequests to the library system.
“We want to help our library system provide the finest level of service to the people of Citrus County,” Price said.
Friends’ fan favorite: The Mega SaleThis weekend, FOCCLS volunteers will be booked and busy.
Every year, FOCCLS hosts two Mega Sales, offering a wide variety of gently used books and puzzles. COVID-19 canceled Mega Sales in the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021, but the sale made its grand return in October 2021. This weekend, the sale is back again at the Citrus County Auditorium, 3610 S. Florida Ave. in Inverness.
During the four-day sale, shoppers can expect the following:
Opening day: 3 to 7 p.m. March 11 with a $5 entry donation at the door
Sale continues: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 12
Half-priced day: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 13
Clearance bag day: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Our customers at the sales are thrilled to have access to such a wide assortment of books,” Price said. “The library system is thrilled to receive our checks to support their book acquisition needs.”
While browsing at your local branch of the CCLS, look for the blue dots on the spines of library books. Those books were purchased by funds raised from FOCCLS book sales.
Volunteers are vital
As a 100 percent volunteer-run organization, Price said FOCCLS’ love of books and libraries keeps them motivated. On a regular basis, 15 volunteers work twice per week at the book house, where volunteers sort, price and pack books for upcoming sales.
Approximately two-dozen additional volunteers assist with the biannual Mega Sale.
In addition, Price said, “Our member Friends of the Library groups are always looking for interested and motivated people for their governing boards.”
For more information, contact your local library.
More money, more books, better community
FOCCLS is completely funded by used book sale proceeds and community donations.
With the loss of two Mega Sales to COVID-19, the FOCCLS were left without their expected income, which was estimated between $55,000 and $60,000. However, they didn’t let COVID-19 get them down.
“We came up with a new business plan of ‘mini’ sales at various locations throughout the county,” Price said. With that, they were able to bring in a good portion of their typical profits.
In 2021, FOCCLS raised $38,172 from book sales and donations, bringing their income up to $41,579. Of that income, $32,740 was distributed to the CCLS through member groups, thanks to an additional memorial bequest received.
According to Price, their budget for 2022 estimates annual expenses at $20,941, with more than 75 percent going toward storefront rental for book storage.
FOCCLS is always accepting donations of used books and puzzles for upcoming sales. Community members can drop donations of at their local library branch.