- Associated Press - Saturday, February 20, 2016

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) - You’re moving. Or maybe the books are stacking up around your house and you would like to make room for more. But, as a book lover, you can’t bear to throw any away and want to find them a good home.

That may be harder than you think.

“We hadn’t taken book donations for the last two months,” said Lori Brouner, manager of the Methodist Thrift Shop. “We were so full in the store, and they just weren’t moving. We even dropped the price, to 10 cents for paperbacks and a quarter for hardbacks.”

While there’s no dearth of readers, how they’re reading is changing, she said.

“A lot of people have gone to e-readers,” Brouner said. “It’s a sign of the times. But there are still a lot of people who like a good, old-fashioned book.”

The thrift shop recently began accepting books again, she said, but donations are limited to one box per person. And what’s in the boxes matter.

“The old encyclopedia sets, no one wants those,” she said. “And we’re lucky. We can take our overflow of books and send them to thrift shops in Denver. We have a trailer staged here for that.”

The Methodist Thrift Shop also donates numerous books to other charitable organizations, she said, including many for children on the Navajo Reservation, where a number of church members volunteer.

Panther Book Nook

Former Park Elementary School teacher Joan Kellogg helps the thrift shop pass some of its children’s books to local kids who will enjoy them.

While she was still teaching at Park, first as a first-grade teacher and later as a schoolwide reading interventionist, Kellogg created the Panther Book Nook, where children could pick up free books.

“I started just buying used books, sometimes at garage sales or the (La Plata County) Humane Society Thrift Store,” Kellogg said. “The Methodist Thrift Shop gives me a box or two every week, and I’d guess I take about 100 books a week there.”

Brouner also gave Kellogg the bookcase for the Book Nook, she said.

“When I retired, they dedicated a corner of the lobby to me, with a big banner,” Kellogg said. “They tease me they did it as bribery so I’d keep bringing those books.”

Kellogg talks about the contributions lightly, but they make a difference in the classroom.

“I have a friend who teaches at Park who requires that kids read for 20 minutes or half an hour in class every day,” Kellogg said. “And there would be students who said they didn’t have a book. Now, there’s no excuse. She tells them to go down to the Book Nook and pick one out.”

The books end up with students at other schools, too, she said, because they practice basketball at Park as part of the city of Durango’s recreation leagues. Kellogg also stocks a bookcase with free books at Miller Middle School.

“There may be Park parents who don’t know those books are free,” Kellogg said. “Maybe reading this will encourage them to pick up books for their kids.”

Friends of the Library

Nancy Peake, former president of Durango Friends of the Library, said they sort anywhere from 30 to 100 boxes twice a week. The books they evaluate may end up at several different places.

“There are some we save for the librarians to look at to see if they want to add them to the library’s collection,” Peake said, “and the ones that still look like new go in our bookstore at the library.”

Books that are a little more well-worn but still good quality go into the book sales the Friends hold three times a year, where they’re sold by the pound. Books that are still perfectly good for reading, but probably aren’t saleable, go on a free book stand in the library foyer.

“I hate to throw any book away,” Friends President Maile Kane said. “So I’ll take some home and see if my neighbors want them. And if I can’t give them away after a couple of weeks, I recycle them.”

The Friends find the occasional collectible book, which the group sells online to maximize how much it raises to support library projects. The most recent purchase for the library is www.tutor.com, a tutoring service for students ages K-12.

If all else fails, the new Durango Book Rescue, founded by Scott Rahilly, accepts gently used books. Rahilly keeps them in a storage unit and gives them away free on bookshelves at Fort Lewis College and a number of businesses around town.


Information from: Durango Herald, https://www.durangoherald.com

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