A Good Day at the Book Table August 5, 2021

for Riverview Park Review Fall Issue

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By Diane S. Schmolka

In the Francesca Apartment Complex in which I live with my husband, friends I’ve made in the building formed a small committee. We created a library where you can keep books you borrowed, return them and/or donate your own. There is no fixed date in which you take them out or return them. Our library has become very popular. While we appreciate the many hundreds of books donated, we became aware that we had too many to even store in extra places. Because of the pandemic, the OPL still will not receive donations. From March2020 we delivered book to Salvation Army Shops. They are much appreciated. Soon after the first ‘lockdown’, I noticed that our library was overstocked. Books were stacked so tightly in double rows on shelves, more piled above those, books on the floor. None of them were in any categorical order. I put out a notice to the residents for volunteers. Soon two women contacted me to help.

If you have ever won a prize in a lottery or auction, you’ll remember what it felt like. This was how I felt when Janet Jacobson, a professional librarian, (now retired), and Louise Metcalfe volunteered to help me organize the library. In addition to Janet and Louise are our husbands who have helped greatly. Peter, my husband delivers a carton of books about once a month or more to S.A. shops, Zack, Janet’s husband has helped organizing and labelling, and so has Aad, Louise’s husband helped labelling, organizing and shelving.

This past July we realized that there were too many good books to even deliver, so we created the first Library Book Sale and all proceeds to go to the Overbrook Community Association.

This has been a new challenge for us. At our planning meeting, Janet mentioned she already approached The Bridge Public House in the Rideau Sports Center. She then approached Heather Amys, coordinator of the Overbrook Community Association. Heather gave us extra books and signage for the OCA. Jocelyn Nadon helped with the signage for our building. Aad developed a lovely sign for the event itself. They were very supportive and agreed to give us six-foot tables, and a perfect spot to hold our book sale. Saturday, July 31, we arrived and set-up our books, chairs. It was a lovely sunny day. It was fun for us to meet and converse with so many people who love books, love to read and could purchase our books from 50 cents to $2.00. They arrived from their exercise classes, from cycling on the bike paths, their brunch, their walks, and cars.

We publicized as much as we could with the short space of time we had. I was very pleased to see several of those I contacted who came. Some of them met each other for the first time. What did they talk about? Books of course! They even commented on authors they liked best! They conversed with us, and others who had just arrived. Everyone was surprised at the very low prices. Many people donated more than what the price of a book was, knowing that it was going to the OCA. It was interesting to hear how many people who purchased books were looking for some place to donate their used books . The group who attended the sale also included some students who had moved to town to attend university and college. Although we had many books to repack, we made almost two hundred dollars. Our sale finished at 2 P.M.. We packed up the remaining books, put them in our car and Peter and I drove to the S.A. on Montreal Road. While our team was tired, we are pleased that we enjoyed our ‘venture in direct selling’! I hope more apartment complexes and condos like this one will create a library like ours and have enthusiastic teams to help maintain that beneficial educational tool.

P.S. The OPL in Greenboro is now accepting donations. They run a continuous book sale year round.

© Diane S. Schmolka, August 5, 2021
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