Second Hand Prose
Did you know there is a bookstore at the library?
Second Hand Prose is our volunteer run used bookstore located in the Entry Garden of the Downtown Library. Please remember that all of our books/magazines are donated by the generous folks of Eugene and the surrounding area. Click here for information regarding how you can donate books/magazines to the store and our other sales venues. Are you a Friends' member? Members enjoy a 10% discount in our store; join here. Interested in working as a volunteer in the store? Check out the Book Store Volunteer job description and duties here. Then stop by the store on a Tuesday or Wednesday between 10 AM and 11:30 AM and discuss with Ken Ehler, volunteer manager about additional details.
Monday, Tuesday, Saturday 10:00 - 4:00
Sunday 1:00 - 4:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 6:00
Friday 4:30 - 7:30 (First Friday only)***
***Everything in the store is Buy one get one Free (Equal or lesser value)
Store volunteers often hear “I didn’t even know this store was here!” So that started my reflection about the journey that is Second Hand Prose . . . . We began what is now known as Second Hand Prose (SHP) in late 2002. The Friends of Eugene Public Library (FEPL) had decided to explore the possibility of opening a used bookstore in the new library so one of the longtime FEPL volunteers organized a committee to search for suitable candidates for the position of volunteer store manager. I had been working as a shelf reader in the Library when I heard about this position. I was also working at a local company on a part-time basis; (I had been considering retiring from a 42 year career in bioorganic chemistry.) Once I took on this FEPL volunteer position, I began to search for other volunteers to assist me in organizing and operating the store. Fortunately I had excellent assistance from certain other FEPL members; by SHP’s grand opening in January of 2003, we had a full slate of volunteers to operate the store. We all understood this (ad) venture was clearly different from operating a usual retail establishment since as volunteers we donate our time in this community venture. Thus, I am very thankful that we still have four of the original volunteer staff working in the store today. Our first year was very encouraging. It was also very helpful that one of the primary sources of our inventory, donations for the Annual Book Sale, was received and processed by FEPL volunteers directly across the street in the old Sears Building. As always, one must be flexible; with the disappearance of that eyesore and the construction of the new beautiful LCC building, FEPL adjusted its procedures for processing donations to include new ways to procure the needed inventory for SHP. Each year thereafter our sales increased until the recession of 2008 shook the entire world economy to its foundations. At first this distressing event did not seem to have a direct effect on the store; however, by 2009 it was obvious that we would not escape its effects. The donations very slowly began to decrease in volume. Fortunately by 2012 this trend began to reverse and the decrease in both store inventory and income began to not only level off but to increase. We know it takes a community effort; it is also important that individual members take the initiative and bring forward creative ideas for improving our manner of doing business. We first offered all magazines and children's items at the daily special of "Buy One - Get One Free" (BOGO). We did this not only to attract more customers, but also to make children's books more easily accessible to teachers looking for inexpensive ways to supply their classroom libraries and home schooling families to supplement their programs. Then we began each month to offer one or more of our inventory categories of books at this special BOGO.
June’s special BOGO is our regular fiction (FIC), mystery (M) and romance (Ro) books at this special offer price. FIC, M and Ro will continue as July’s BOGO specials and I will continue my reflections on our store by talking about how customers purchase has changed through the years and how SHP tries to respond to those changes. Ken Ehler