A downtown book store aimed at providing funding for the public library will hold a grand opening event today.
Christi Stevens, president of the Mount Airy Friends of the Library organization, said a ceremony officially opening a second-hand book store at 140 North Main St. will begin at 4 p.m. The store had a “soft” opening on April 1.
Stevens said the store contains more than 20,000 “gently used” titles. Soon, the store will also offer DVDs, audio books and records. Everything in the store is donated by individuals and businesses.
The store is the realization of a dream, which dates back at least six years, for the Friends of the Library.
Stevens said when Steve Martin, who owned Yesterdays, began downsizing his operations, he offered his inventory to the organization in the summer of 2015.
“We saw our opportunity, seized the day and realized our dream,” said Stevens.
She said Martin’s generosity is just the tip of the iceberg when describing the local community’s support in making the store a success. The collection of books offered at the store is continually growing, with large donations coming through the door nearly every day.
“Many people pulled together to make this happen,” said Stevens, adding their downtown landlord had been “generous.”
“The building is a perfect fit,” explained Stevens. “It’s a blessing to be downtown.”
Stevens said the store must only pay for its overhead costs, since the entire workforce at the store is comprised of volunteers. Money raised goes toward supporting the many programs the library offers, such as a summer reading effort, a theater program, special programs for adults and many others.
The store finds its roots in the Friends of the Library’s bi-annual book sales, said Stevens. The organization has been holding the sales for more than 30 years.
Stevens also noted the store will not entirely take the place of the sales.
“To keep the tradition, we will at least keep the fall sale,” said Stevens. “People also like to shop in different places. The sale at the library affords them that opportunity.”
Stevens said her organization usually raises between $3,000 and $4,000 at each book sale. With the store added to the fundraising efforts, annual goals have been set much higher — $60,000.
The addition of the book store has also underscored a need for more volunteers, according to Stevens. The Friends of the Library has 300 members. However, the organization’s volunteer-force is normally comprised of a “small but mighty” group of 15 to 20 active members.
“We are always in need of more dedicated volunteers,” said Stevens.
The book store, which is located next to the Earle Theatre, is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. As the summer months approach, Stevens said the store may extend its hours to include conducting business on Sundays.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.