The Book Nook, the staging area for donated books and other materials, is staffed by dedicated volunteers who collect, sort and prepare donated books, records, stamps, computer software and compact discs for the annual Davis Memorial Goodwill Industries Used Book Sale.
The idea for the book sale originated almost 30 years ago with two Goodwill volunteers, one of whom is still active. The sale has become one of the nation's largest Goodwill fundraising events and one of the East Coast's largest book sales. Since the first sale, more than $2 million has been raised. Each year, approximately 13,000 people attend the six-day sale in search of bargain-priced books. Proceeds—more than $250,000 last year—fund job training and employment services for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment throughout the national capital area.
Volunteers do most of the preparation for the book sale. A group of about 35 volunteers, "Bookies," work year-round sorting and pricing books into 55 categories. The volunteers are described as "knowledgeable and faithful." Many of the volunteers specialize in a specific category of books and are therefore qualified to price them accordingly. This also provides an opportunity for the volunteers to use their expertise in searching for rare editions. One volunteer's keen eye spotted a valuable edition of Homer's Iliad, which netted Goodwill almost $5,000 through New York's prestigious Sotheby's auction house.
Many juggle responsibilities at Goodwill with other organizations. One volunteer, a former Tuskeggee Airman, works at the Book Nook, speaks to children and seniors, repairs computers and gives tours at the National Air & Space Museum. Others give time to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, Washington-area public schools and a host of other nonprofit groups.
"Without our volunteers, Davis Memorial Goodwill Industries would not be able to provide the level of service that our communities have enjoyed for more than 60 years," states David C. Becker, President/CEO of Davis Memorial Goodwill Industries.