Book store plans move ahead with new manager

by Stan Cutler
Posted 10/28/20

The Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library plan to open a bookstore at 84 Bethlehem Pike.  The store will be a non-profit enterprise with all proceeds over and above …

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Book store plans move ahead with new manager

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The Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library plan to open a bookstore at 84 Bethlehem Pike.  The store will be a non-profit enterprise with all proceeds over and above operating costs to be donated to our branch of the Free Library for repairs, book purchases and to fund programs for neighbors of all ages. The space, thanks to Bowman Properties, has been nicely rehabilitated. Mount Airy resident James Gleeson (above) has agreed to be our manager. We are very happy to have found someone with his experience and enthusiasm. We’re certain that you will enjoy your dealings with him as you shop in the store.

James’ first task is to sort and inventory the thousands of books you dropped off for us last week. We knew that you wanted to share your books, to clear space on your shelves for new ones, but we couldn’t be sure how many we could collect. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for. We announced that we would accept books from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on three different days last week.  We had planned to store the donations at a vacant store across the street. That filled up on the first day. On the second day, we started using another, nearby vacant building. We filled three large rooms with books in that space before we were finished on day three. Wow! Thank you!

And many thanks to those of you who volunteered to help us schlep all the heavy boxes from cars into temporary storage. We couldn’t have gotten it done without your assistance. Nothing could be more different from the pleasures of reading than hauling boxes while wearing face masks. When we first announced our plans a month ago, we asked if you would like to volunteer to help with the project. Your response was overwhelming. So many of you volunteered! So many of you have told us that you are looking forward to once again having a neighborhood bookstore! Your enthusiasm for the project is deeply gratifying and provides more than enough incentive to keep us working toward opening day.

Everyone asked when the store would open and whether we had decided on a name for it. We are working hard on the details necessary for success. Soon, all of our paperwork will be in order. Soon, the two-dozen bookshelves will be installed. We will start filling the shelves once that’s done. We need to install a point of sale terminal, back-office systems and establish an online presence. We will have to train volunteers. There is much to be done before we can open our doors. Please be patient. We will announce our opening as soon as we possibly can.

Many people have asked us to receive more books. Right now, we don’t have space for them. We will announce dates for the next round of book donations as soon as we can. Once we’re up and running, we will accept book donations frequently. We appreciate your patience.

Our startup costs are mounting. We would very much appreciate financial donations to make sure that you will have an ideal book shopping experience from day one. Please go to chlibraryfriends.org if you’d like to contribute.  

As for the name, we should have one soon. After we announced that we wanted your suggestions, you sent us 164 likely bookshop names. We have narrowed the choices down to six. Stay tuned.

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