Second-hand bookstore with thousands of ‘beloved’ books opens in Danbury to benefit the library



DANBURY – The Friends of Danbury library had so many books that the volunteers didn’t know what to do with them.

Thus, the association opened a second-hand bookstore – the only one in the city – to raise funds for the local library.

“We believe there is a need in the area,” said Mary Cappiello, Friends of Danbury Library Book Sale Co-Chair. “Our location is definitely great. It’s in the city center, and we hope to make our place a destination point.

The store is the Friends’ effort to reinvent itself after it canceled its big annual book sale last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The sale will also not take place this fall as volunteers should have started planning months ago.

The organization, however, had thousands of donated books in stock and wanted to put them in the hands of readers. Most books can be purchased for $ 3 or less.

“It gives people the ability to buy books at a low price that most people can afford,” said Karen Chambrovich, Co-Chair of Book Sales. “It kind of encourages them to look for other authors besides their favorites.”

It is known as the Friends Red House Book Store because it is located in the historic McLean Red House at 15 Main Street, which the city allows the organization to use for free. Chambrovich described the store as a “cheerful” place with four rooms, including a children’s area with brightly painted light fixtures.

Proceeds will go to Danbury Library programs. The organization gives about $ 80,000 a year to the library, all of the money for programs coming from Friends, said Katie Pearson, director of the library, which supports the bookstore.

“It’s a great idea,” she says. “It obviously gives people more opportunities to buy books.”

The library’s programs remain virtual for the summer but will be a mix of virtual and in-person in the fall, she said.

The store opened in the spring by appointment for booksellers, but launched to the public at the end of June. Cappiello assumes the group has 10,000 books in store and storage.

“Sometimes it looks like 100,000 (pounds),” Chambrovich said. “All the rooms are really full. We have books literally above the bookcases because it is overflowing at this point. “

The store is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays in July and August, but other days could be added later.

“We hope to make it a full-time store,” Cappiello said. “We don’t know if we can be open six or seven days a week. We’re definitely not going to compete with malls or big box plagues. “

For now, she envisions patrons heading to the Danbury Farmers Market on Fridays and then heading to the bookstore.

The store can only hold four to five people at a time. Masks are optional.

Many of the volunteers are seniors who have spent much of the past 16 months at home and are looking for a reason to leave the house, Cappiello said.

Children’s books cost as little as 50 cents. Books in the rare and collectable section are more expensive, but merchants have still found valuable books for $ 3.

“There’s always that rare find,” Cappiello said. “We get people who donate collections they’ve owned for years, and we offer some pretty valuable books. “

The first weekend the store made $ 1,000, Cappiello said.

In one of the best years, the organization made between $ 40,000 and $ 45,000 from selling books, she said. But the store doesn’t have the same overhead for rent and tables as selling books.

There is a yard and parking lot in the store where the group could hold a book sale in the future, she said.

The association has a collection bin that volunteers empty and sort a few times a week.

“The people of Danbury and the surrounding area are very, very generous,” said Chambrovich. “We have some extremely popular books. “

Books are stored free of charge at Union Savings Bank and those in the store are frequently changed.

“What you will see this week will be a little different next week,” Chambrovich said.



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