Table after table stacked with books in pristine condition were on display at the Friends of the Malibu Library book sale last Friday, Dec. 3, all cookbooks from a collection gifted by the family of the late Malibu resident Karen Henrietta Keland. New titles originally ranging from $10 to $75 were priced at $5 to $20, drawing cooks and readers to the walkway near the old courthouse in the Malibu Civic Center.
The Friends bookstore, a nonprofit business and the only bookstore in Malibu, uses its profits to support children, teen, and adult programs the library provides for the community. During normal operations, most books are listed for just $1.
Bookstore Manager Harriet Pollon said the organization has been fortunate enough to receive many almost-new books, most with covers still attached, to sell at their bookstore.
“We have good people here, so [we’re] very fortunate,” Pollon said. “They [the books] look lovely; they’re almost untouched and, for a dollar, how can you go wrong?”
In addition to the 700 cookbooks that were recently donated, the bookstore is expected to receive 400 more in January.
At the height of the pandemic, the bookstore ceased accepting donations, leaving shelves half-empty, but Pollon and Susan Kelly, president of the Friends of the Malibu Bookstore, said they have begun to accept book donations once again.
“We have a variety of different topics, which will be filled out as we get more donations, but we normally have a gigantic gardening section,” Pollon said.
“People have been waiting for this and we’re very happy to give back,” Kelly said, calling Malibu residents “exceptional and voracious readers.”
Pollon said this past year was difficult for the bookstore because of the pandemic. Since the library was closed, they weren’t accepting book donations and most of their supply was slowly depleting.
“[Last year] it was trying to keep a presence in the community without being able to have any contact,” Pollon said. “We definitely need more donations because once we’ve opened, we were selling but we were not really receiving.”
Kelly said fiction, mysteries, gardening, and cooking were usually the most popular books at the bookstore, which makes them a perfect holiday gift.
While the Malibu Farmers Market is organized on Sundays at the Malibu Library parking lot on Civic Center Way, Kelly said some residents never realized there was a library, let alone a bookstore, just around the corner from the market.
“I was at the farmers market this last Sunday passing out flyers for the sale and I said, ‘You know, we also have a bookstore in the library!’ and they went, ‘Oh, where’s the library?’ and they’re standing right next to it,” Kelly said.
Pollon added the book donations are one of the main sources of income that help fund the programs and are asking for the community’s help as they return from a year of hibernation.
The bookstore is located inside the Malibu Library at 23519 West Civic Center Way. For library hours visit: lacountylibrary.org/malibu-library.