KINDERHOOK–Friends of Kinderhook Memorial Library is venturing into new territory, literally and figuratively, this holiday season.
Friends will unveil its prototype for a seasonal, weekends-only bookshop at the Feed and Seed building on Hudson Street during Candlelight Night, Friday, December 14 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Volunteers will continue to offer vintage, collectible and contemporary fiction, non-fiction and children’s books throughout the weekend (December 15 and 16) during regular library hours (Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.) at the 24 Hudson St. location.
A members-only preview event took place Sunday, December 9.
In addition to a comprehensive selection of fine and affordable books, the shop will also feature a collection of books from The British Life series, examples of which were recently featured in Country Living magazine. The friends group had the books framed for this event.
After the holidays, though, the store will hibernate until spring.
“We do not have concrete plans to reopen until spring,” said Warren Applegate, a Friends member and volunteer. “However, we intend to open every weekend in this location during the summer.”
Mr. Applegate, who is working with Bonnie Shannon, a former president of Friends and current Book Sale chairwoman to get the store up and running, says the idea wouldn’t be possible without the donation of rent-free space from Christophe and Jennifer DeMaison, who not only offered the shop proper but also a separate, on-site location for sorting and storage.
“This is a tremendously generous contribution that will support major book sales,” said Mr. Applegate, who also noted that the twice-annual tent sales held in June and September are wonderful but put some books in jeopardy. “Previously we have been entirely dependent on the weather. We would like to extend to the community the good, used and collectable books we have year-round but we are reluctant to put books out that are weather sensitive. We don’t want damage.”
Mrs. Shannon, who has been with Friends since its inception six years ago, said that the volunteer organization annually contributes about $11,000 to the library for programming and services, and are hopeful that a book store will help maximize not only revenue but also community access to its collection.
The Friends organization currently has about 200 members, and, through dues and book sales, supports the Library’s ability to offer museum passes, summer reading programs, professional support for staff, portions of its newsletter as well as the daily subscription to The New York Times.
“We have a very literate community,” she said, noting that many donations come from local book lovers who work in the publishing industry. “The hope is that if we can have a book store then we can attract year-round donations that will bring in even more wonderful books and turn into something wonderful for the library…. If a valuable book is donated and it gets ruined, that’s not fair to the donor, and it’s not fair to the library.”
Mrs. Shannon explained that Friends will experiment this summer to see what kind of foot traffic it gets and how many volunteers it can attract and most importantly, what kind of impact the bookshop has on the community.
“We are very interested in making sure this undertaking was of value to everyone,” Mrs. Shannon said, explaining that they while they didn’t want to have the elements jeopardize their own valuable assets, they also didn’t want to jeopardize Kinderhook’s independent bookseller, Blackwood & Brouwer.
“We would not have pursued this if they thought it would negatively impact their business,” she said, adding that bookstore owners Rondi and Jean Brouwer “have been completely supportive. They believe that books are good for a community.”
For more information about Friends of Kinderhook Memorial Library, visit www.oklibrary.org/drupal/friends.