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CHEAP READS: Library Bookstore a Boon to Readers

lower-level shop raises funds for Friends of the Library

words & photos by Ron Davis |

TAKE A LOOK, IT'S IN A BOOK.  Beth Ernst says she stops in to browse at the Friends of the Library Bookstore every time she goes to the library.
TAKE A LOOK, IT'S IN A BOOK. Beth Ernst says she stops in to browse at the Friends of the Library Bookstore every time she goes to the library. "You never know what you're going to find!" she said.

Where can you find hardcover books by authors like Ken Follett, Nora Roberts, Tom Clancy, or C.J. Box for only $2 or paperbacks from popular writers like John Sandford, Louise Penney, James Patterson, or Catherine Coulter for a buck? Where can you find children’s books for 50 cents, audiobooks for $2 and DVDs for $1? The answer to these questions is the new L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library Bookstore.

Located on Level 0 of Eau Claire’s newly-renovated public library, the cheery little bookstore holds thousands of books, audiobooks, DVDs, and even records that have been donated or de-accessioned from the library stacks on the floors above. Budget-minded shoppers can browse the bookstore’s collection (which is constantly changing) anytime the library is open, making their donation for their lucky finds with cash or credit card. If a volunteer staffer is not present, there is a donation box on the wall. Visitors will find books grouped alphabetically by author into sections like fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks, history, biography, and more.

How do books and other materials find their way to the bookstore? The majority of the bookstore’s shelves are filled with materials withdrawn from the library’s holdings. The second source is donations. Donated materials are first evaluated for value by a team of volunteers. If a donation is valued above $10, it is posted on online platforms like Abebooks, Alibris, Amazon, or eBay. If it’s worth less, it goes to the bookstore. Some donated materials do end up being recycled or donated to other agencies, based on condition and salability.

“We restock the bookstore every day, so there is always something new to shop for.

Stacy Yearous


Proceeds from the new bookstore go to the library for programs and services. The funds given back to the library support Youth Services Reading Programs, Youth Service Play and Learn items, Outreach items for Books on Buses, The Seed Library, ArtWest, and the One Book/One Community Reading Program, to give just a few examples.

“For the most part, the community is embracing the bookstore, though we still get patrons asking about our big book sales,” said Stacy Yearous, program and development coordinator for the Friends of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library. “We will no longer have our big, three-day sales like we have had prior to COVID and the renovation project. We may have Pop-Up Sales a couple of times a year. The message we want to get out is come and shop every time you visit the library. 

“We restock the bookstore every day, so there is always something new to shop for,” Stacey added. “During National Library week (April 23-29), we will be doing a special sale featuring mystery books and some author-signed books.”

Stacy said the Friends of the Library group is always looking for volunteers to staff the bookstore or to participate in the popular “Adopt-A-Shelf” opportunity where volunteers come in once a month to dust and straighten an assigned shelf. Stacy said it’s remarkable how proud Adopt-A-Shelf volunteers get of “their own” piece of the library’s collection. Anyone interested in volunteering should reach out via email if possible, using or fill out a volunteer form at

If someone would like to become a Friend, they can visit the website or pick up a brochure in the bookstore. Joining at the Sustaining Friend Level or the Patron Level earns a punch card for a Free Book from the Bookstore. Sustaining Level members will get a punch card for six Free Books, while Patron Level members will get a punch card for 12 Free Books.

New bookstore volunteer Roger Davis said, “Opening a bookstore is a great way to help out the library, and it’s a great place to buy cheap books!”

Learn more about the Friends on the Library and the bookstore at