Every Fourth of July morning for decades, Cannon Beach residents and visitors, coffee in hand, queue along Hemlock Street for two events — the Independence Day Parade and the Cannon Beach Library Fourth of July Book Sale — traditional events that transform this popular beach community into Oregon’s iconic all-American village.
Last year, as excitement built among hundreds of early arrivals jockeying for prime locations on the parade route through downtown Cannon Beach, others — having marked their spots with folding chairs — waited at 9:30 a.m.
for the library doors to open on the last day for remaining bargains at one of the largest used book sales on the Oregon coast.
This year, the Independence Day Parade coincides with the first day of the Cannon Beach Library’s major annual book sale, so the crowd waiting before doors open will be larger, anticipating the first chance to uncover the best deals.
The sale runs July 4-7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, at 131 N. Hemlock St. The library will close Tuesday, July 3, to organize this massive sale. Other than the popular book-sale room, during this event, most library services will remain unavailable until Monday, July 9.
Library secretary Janet Bates, who chairs a committee pricing thousands of books that residents, visitors and library patrons donated throughout the year, expects this year’s book sale to surpass last year’s record of raising nearly 10 percent of the library’s annual budget.
This sale includes all donated books, except those retained for the library collection or squeezed into the library’s always open book-sale room.
“This year’s fundraiser offers thousands of novels, mysteries, biographies, histories and other nonfiction titles; rare and old books; and perennially popular cooking, art and coffee table books, all at bargain-basement prices,” Bates says of the books her committee sorted, cleaned, priced, boxed, and stored every Tuesday morning for this event.
“To the thousands of popular fiction and nonfiction books donated this past year,” Bates notes, “this sale also adds hundreds of first editions, autographed and rare old books overlooked during our Second Annual Memorial Day Rare and Old Book Sale.”
A veteran of more than a dozen library book sales, Bates recommends that those looking for “great books in great condition at great prices” arrive early and return on subsequent days.
Library president Phyllis Bernt stresses that the Cannon Beach Library — distinct from most libraries — operates as a private, member-owned, nonprofit organization.
“With only a small subsidy from the city, this library truly is special, even amazing,” she argues. “Staffed by more than ninety library volunteers and a single part-time office manager, and supported through numerous fundraising events and appeals, our library provides important current fiction and nonfiction, e-books, interlibrary loan services, access to Wi-Fi and computing services and meeting space for Cannon Beach and Arch Cape residents and visitors six days a week.”
Fully aware of how much this sale contributes for purchasing new books, Bernt still emphasizes the symbolic and historical connection of this event with how the Cannon Beach Library was established in 1927 and has flourished during the following ninety years. “The success of this sale reminds me how Cannon Beach and our library still depend on generous volunteers and shared community values.
“Cannon Beach has been blessed with natural beauty, but that alone didn’t create the tourist and retirement destination our community has become,” the library president explains. “That took early residents and visitors with a community vision, people who believed in building and supporting local businesses, institutions and services. In 1927, when the Women’s Club sought a civic project, this library became that project, and those original eight women, joined by additional club members, adopted, supported and slowly grew our library. Our success then and today depends on donations, book drives, business contributions, fundraising events and volunteer labor. Without book donations from present-day residents and library patrons and the work of our many volunteers, this important annual event wouldn’t have achieved its popular success.”
Bernt says the library still needs help and new members. She encourages anyone interested in volunteering at the Fourth of July Book Sale to telephone or email her at 503-436-1391 or email@example.com and leave their contact information. “We especially need help with set-up on Tuesday, July 3, and with cashiering, bagging and sorting and restocking tables during the sale.”