Bookstore offers great deals for bookworms
Story and photo by Dennis Sharkey
Bookworms in Jefferson County who cannot get enough to read but don’t want to break the bank now have an affordable option.
The store opened about a year ago with limited space and hours but the FOOLS are hoping to expand hours with help from more volunteers.
The store was only open a couple of Saturdays a month but is now open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.
FOOLS secretary Jeannette Hierstein said they would like to expand the hours of the store but more help is needed to fill those hours. The store has been constructed and staffed entirely by volunteers.
“It’s been really satisfying to put all this together with all volunteers,” she said. “We don’t have any big investment.”
Hierstein said the idea for the bookstore is not a new one to Oskaloosa. She said the store is patterned after the old Book Barn store that was operated in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s by former resident Louise Barker.
“We’re kind of mimicking that,” she said.
The store is supplied primarily by the Oskaloosa Library. When new books are purchased the old ones have to go to make room. Some of the books are also donated.
Hierstein said FOOLS were conducting periodic book sales before the store but many of the logistics of the sales proved to be problematic.
Before the store the old books were stored in the Library’s attic. Hierstein approached Dr. Earl D. McColm about an empty building next to his dentist office on Liberty Street. Dr. McColm agreed to let FOOLS store their extra books.
Then Hierstein remembered the old Book Barn and asked McColm if they could open a used book store. He said yes.
Over the last several months Hierstein, who is a carpenter, has constructed shelves in the store and books are now arranged by subject so shoppers have an easier time finding what they need.
The store features a wide variety of books, DVDs and video tapes including fiction and nonfiction. The most expensive book is $2. Some children’s books are as low as $0.10 each.
“We’re selling them at rockbottom prices,” she said.
FOOLS’ primary goal is to help supplement the Oskaloosa Library. Hierstein said the group raises several hundred dollars each year but they have a goal to reach $1,000.
The funds help buy things for the library that do not fit into their budget such as furniture or special book collections.
The bookstore is not charged anything by McColm for rent or utilities which Hierstein said is the main reason they were able to open the store.
“Hopefully in the future if this carries on and seems to be growing we can compensate him,” she said.
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