SIERRA VISTA— Whenever Scottie McKeever-Dion opens up a bag of donated books, she said it’s like Christmas.
It’s not just because she’s a lifelong reader with a passion for literature; it’s that she’s helping to stock the shelves of a new bookstore for the community to enjoy.
McKeever-Dion is a board member of the new Little Library Bookstore that just moved into the spot previously inhabited by the Friends of the Library Bookstore, which moved locations earlier this year.
“They’ve always had a bookstore right next to the library, and 20 years of tradition is very important,” McKeever-Dion said. “A lot of people have been by so far and said, ‘Oh, we are so happy that there is a bookstore here open again, because it's just so centrally located next to the library.’”
Little Library Bookstore opened its doors on Oct. 27, and the 501(c) nonprofit is already seeing a steady flow of residents coming in to take advantage of the low-priced books and other used items.
Because the bookstore has no overhead of utility bills or rent, all proceeds from its sales go to support the library.
Mary Cunningham, the president of their five-member board, said the benefit to the library is just one of the goals of the bookstore.
“We have a threefold purpose here,” she said. “It makes a profit for the library and all the library services; the second is to have fun and to build community. Our volunteers are building community with patrons and with Sierra Vista.
“We are all about relationships and building community as well.”
The bookstore is volunteer-driven, with about 15 volunteers currently working alongside the board members. Volunteers can do everything from helping sort books that are donated to handling the cash transactions.
“Some of them haven't worked in bookstores before, so we train them. It’s easy to train,” McKeever-Dion said. “Everyone's excited, and everyone wants to work the money desk, of course.
“I’d rather do the books.”
The bookstore is umbrellaed under the Friends of the Library Association in the United States, nonprofit groups around the country dedicated to supporting libraries.
All the books, DVDs, CDs, games and magazines for sale in the store are donated items. The bookstore will take just about anything in good condition that meets its requirements, and they work with the library to decide what books will go to the store and which will go to the library shelves.
“We will sell a book for 2 dollars … say someone brings a book in, and it’s worth $30. Well, we’re only going to be able to give the library $2 if we sell it, so we will let them have that one,” McKeever-Dion said. “That's how we are working it out. And it’s working pretty good, and the library has been very helpful.”
The board works closely together to run the store and make decisions about what they will do. Though they have been open for less than month, they are happy with what they have been able to accomplish.
Board secretary Jan Salazar highlighted their kids corner where children can sit and enjoy a game or book, something she said is like “a jackpot” for kids. She also pointed to how well-organized the shop is.
“The advantage in a small store like this is there's such a variety, and you don't have to walk all over the place to find something,” she said. “That's the comment we’re getting a lot. ‘I can go to this section, that one, find all sorts of things we like.’”
Salazar, Cunningham and McKeever-Dion were all volunteers at the Friends of the Library Bookstore previously in the location, and are excited to serve people again with the Little Library Bookstore.
Each has a passion for books they want to share with community members and one other.
“Having a bookstore with prices as low as we have ours is an opportunity for the community to come in and, besides getting library books, buy a book,” McKeever-Dion said. “I like feeling books in my hands ... it's kind of like gardening when you feel the dirt in your hands.
“When we get books in, I feel like it's Christmas morning every time, and that's a wonderful feeling as an adult.”
Little Library Bookstore is still looking for volunteers. Anyone interested can apply at City Hall and specify their interest in volunteering at the bookstore.
Donations can be dropped off at the library and specified as Little Library Bookstore items, or you can stop into the bookstore located to the left of the library entrance.
Little Library Bookstore
Where: 2600 E. Tacoma St.
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
IF YOU DONATE:
Accepts books in good, clean condition, music, video games, DVDs, etc., puzzles and games and magazines less than 6 months old.
They can’t take damaged or dirty/moldy/damp/burnt items, books with missing covers or pages, textbooks, encyclopedias, National Geographic magazine and Reader’s Digest condensed books.