Organization underway for annual bargain hunters paradise

The long organizational process for the biggest bargain hunt of the year is underway.

The Bloomington Crime Prevention Association’s annual Book’Em Used Book Sale begins June 3, and organizing for the sale begins long before opening day. Part of that organization includes collecting books and other donations from the community. Donation drop boxes have made their annual appearance around Bloomington, and donations may also be dropped off at the sale site, which is moving back across Interstate 494.

The 25th annual sale will return to Richfield this summer. The association leases space for the sale each year and needs the space for approximately three months. The association is therefore at the mercy of available retail space in Bloomington, and when adequate space is unavailable, the organization looks elsewhere. Several years ago the sale moved to a vacated bookstore space at the Shops at Lyndale, a strip mall on the Richfield side of the freeway.

The sale moved back to Bloomington a few years ago, but that space was unavailable this spring, prompting the search for a new location. That new location ended up being back at the Shops at Lyndale. This year’s sale will take place in the recently vacated Sports Authority space on the west end of the strip mall, according to Mike Hartley, a Bloomington resident, deputy chief of the Bloomington Police Department and president of the association.

The annual sale raises approximately $100,000 for the association each year, which awards the proceeds to crime prevention organizations and initiatives each fall.

After securing its sale site, the association kicks off its annual sale by collecting and organizing donations in the weeks preceding the sale. In addition to sorting and alphabetizing books by category and author, the sale also accepts game, puzzle, music, movie, software, video games and video game component donations.

The association will accept new and used book donations covering many genres, in both hardcover and paperback, but does accept National Geographic Magazine. Although the association accepts music donations, it does not accept cassette tapes. Likewise, discs of movie and television shows are accepted, but not VHS tapes.

Donations may be dropped off at the sale site, 1150 W. 78th St., on Wednesdays and Fridays between noon and 5 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

When the sale begins June 3, donations will still be accepted at the sale site daily through June 11.

Donations boxes are also available throughout the community, including at the entrances to Bloomington Civic Plaza, at Bloomington’s public elementary schools, at Creekside Community Center, at the Jefferson and Kennedy High School activity centers, at the Pond and Southwood early childhood centers and at several Bloomington businesses.

Most items at the sale are priced at $1 or $2, and a preview sale precedes opening day. The preview sale is 5-9 p.m. Friday, June 2, and admission is $10 per person and free for members of the association. The regular sale hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends, June 3-17.

Information about the sale, including additional drop-off sites and a link to the association’s Facebook page, is available online at