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Doing it by the book(s) The Book Nook

by Nancy Christofferson
LA VETA- It seems our national media enjoys publicizing the gloom and doom of today’s political and economic pictures, so a ray of sunshine now and then is most refreshing.
A success story is that ray. A business that has more than doubled its profits in these difficult times is a unique and welcome change.
That business is the Book Nook at 207 South Main in La Veta.
The Book Nook is not a new business – it is actually on its third location in town. It is operated by the Friends of the Library which has a membership of around 100. The Friends organization is not new, either, having acted as a support group for the library for many years. However, the Friends of the Library was formally structured and incorporated in 2000. Its avowed mission is to serve as an educational, economic, charitable and labor source for the library. Basically, members assist in fundraising and serve as volunteers in different projects that benefit the library in its effort to best serve the public. They offer ideas and make refreshments for public programs from speakers to movies. Some of them even assist staff when the need arises.
Mostly, it seems, the Friends move books. In the past, the Friends were most visible during the periodic book sales on the library grounds. The inventory came from the overflowing library shelves and from individuals. The volunteers had collected these, sorted them into categories, boxed them and priced them. After the sales, everything had to go back into storage, another move. It was no great leap to decide to find a location in which these volumes could be offered for sale on a daily basis, and without moving them.
The first shop opened on east Francisco about seven years ago, then it was moved to west Francisco, in even smaller quarters. These moves naturally necessitated a great deal of packing, toting, and unpacking. The Book Nook has thousands of books, from coffee table picture albums and art books to well-thumbed paperbacks and children’s literature, so a move calls for great effort.
About a year ago, the shop on Main Street went on the market and the location appealed to the Friends. A massive fundraising drive ensued, with donations solicited and collected. Grants were painstakingly obtained and the Book Nook had the funds to buy a new home. This one is permanent, bought and paid for. Volunteers once again pitched in, moved the whole inventory and refilled the shelves. The new Book Nook opened in early June.
Since opening at the new location, profits have increased two- and three-fold. The money goes directly to the library after expenses, which thankfully no longer include rent. There are no paychecks since all the salespeople are volunteers. The shop has seen days when it cleared $200 or even $300, which is a lot of used books!
Many of the supporters who buy these books are local residents, but since moving this summer the shop draws quite a few of those riding the rails – the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad. Thus it is not too surprising to find, when glancing through the guest book, visitors from Spain and Belgium. An interesting visitor this past week was a woman who was overjoyed to find a certain volume, entitled Restless Soul, by Emily Tipton Williams. It turned out she was the author! She informed the saleslady that buying the softcover at the Book Nook was cheaper than getting it from her publisher. Mrs. Williams is a seasonal resident of Cuchara.
The Book Nook is open from 10 am until 4 pm Tuesday through Saturday, and from noon until 3 pm Sunday, though the hours will change this winter.