Shoppers peruse books at the spring 2022 Friends of the Library sale. (Photo: Springfield-Greene County Library District)

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If someone asked why puzzles were being sold at a library’s book sale, Al Jaffee would have had a snappy answer.

Regardless, plenty of puzzles will be available for sale at the Friends of the Library Spring Book Sale, set for April 24-28 at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds E*Plex. 

“There is an extensive collection of puzzles available,” said Vickie Hicks, spokesperson for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. “Some have never been opened.”

Also among the items for sale: A large collection of Mad magazine books from the ‘70s. Jaffee, an award-winning and influential cartoonist for the publication, died in 2023 at 102.

Six tractor-trailers full of materials will be available to attendees over the five-day event. Items include CDs, movies, vinyl records, games, audiobooks and puzzles, as well as a large collection of hardback and paperback books. Most books and audiovisuals cost $1, while “better books” cost $2 or more.

The sale will feature a familiar schedule of events:

  • A preview sale will be held from 4-8 p.m. Tuesday. Admission is free to Friends of the Library members, but people can join the group at the door, Hicks said.
  • Admission is free from Wednesday through Saturday. Hours for the sale are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. from Wednesday to Friday.
  • 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday is half-price day.
  • 1-5 p.m. Sunday is Bag Day, where customers can fill a bag of materials for either $1 or $5, depending on the section they shop from.

Parking is free, but the organization accepts only cash or checks during the sale.

Friends of the Library helps raise money for the Springfield-Greene County Library system’s programming and performances, including an annual summer reading program. It is also helping fund Wee Read, a program that gets materials to parents participating in the Parents as Teachers program.

In 2023, the group made a $200,000 naming donation for a performance platform that is part of an auditorium expansion at the Library Center on South Campbell Avenue.

Materials for the sale are collected from year-round donations. Hicks said the library is asking people with such donations to wait for a couple of weeks before making new donations.

“As eager and wonderful as those donors are, we ask them to kindly hold their donations until the week after the sale,” Hicks said. “All of our Friends volunteers are tied up at the sale, and aren’t available at our branches during sale week.”

Joe Hadsall

Joe Hadsall is the education reporter for the Hauxeda. Hadsall has more than two decades of experience reporting in the Ozarks with the Joplin Globe, Christian County Headliner News and 417 Magazine. Contact him at (417) 837-3671 or More by Joe Hadsall