Ironwood Public Library is installing a permanent book drop at Cupz and Crepes, which will in turn pour a free cup of coffee to those who donate materials.

Jason Peterson, executive director of Friends of the Phoenix Public Library, said this will be the first permanent book drop in Ahwatukee Foothills outside of a library location.

A temporary book donation box has been in the restaurant since July.

“A lot of volunteers come over from the library,” said Cupz and Crepes owner Terrie Martinez. Her restaurant, at 4232 E. Chandler Blvd., is located down the street from Ironwood Public Library.

When the permanent box is installed, Martinez will give one free cup of house coffee to those who donate to the library. Acceptable items for donation include books, CDs, DVDs and magazines.

“It’s the first time that we’ve ever had a deal with a coffee shop,” Peterson said. “It’s the first time this has ever been done that I know of.”

The books are retrieved from Cupz and Crepes by Ed Reis, a volunteer at the Ironwood branch of Friends of the Phoenix Public Library, who helped set up the box.

“Ed had a good working relationship with the people at Cupz and Crepes,” said Karen Idehara, assistant branch manager for Ironwood Public Library.

After sorting and scanning the donated items, books donated to the library are scanned for use in the system. If the library doesn’t need them, the Friends either donate or sell the books. At Ironwood, the books sell for $1 for hardcover, 50 cents for paperback, magazines for 25 cents and CDs for $2. More valuable items sell via other methods, including eBay.

Peterson said that the library receives about 5,000 books a month; they made $1,149 in January and $916 in February. The Ironwood chapter of Friends of the Phoenix Public Library distributes donated books to nearby organizations as well. Reis said they have given books to Kyrene Centennial Middle School for its special education department.

Since they are all volunteers, Peterson said, there are no administration costs besides eBay commission. The sales help pay for things outside of the library’s budget, like the summer reading program, ESL classes and arts programs. The teen center at Ironwood was purchased completely from donation revenue.

“Our mission is to enhance and promote the library in the community,” Peterson said. “The books are the tools to do that. That’s how we raise money.”

Besides the Cupz and Crepes location, people can donate materials at all Phoenix Public Library branches.


Christopher Ogino is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. He is a senior at Arizona State University.

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