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January 28, 2020: Constructing a Bookstore

I have done a lot of things in my life, but I have never before put together a bookstore. I have two small libraries at home, one in my seasonal cabin and one upstairs in my winter work area. Actually, they are medium sized libraries. The books I read become reference material. I have noticed that if I lend out or give a book away, I find that it is the very one with the information that I need, pronto.

Putting together a bookstore is turning out to be a very humbling experience. I thought, the day we brought the first dozen boxes into the shop, that getting them organized and categorized would be easy. It has not been easy at all.

I made a mistake a few Gaylords back – I sorted through the 1,000 or so books and pamphlets and just tossed the books to be sold/distributed in cardboard boxes. Oh oh. This was a huge mistake because they then had to be re-sorted into categoriees. I learned that the decision making must take place the minute the book to be saved comes out of the Gaylord; otherwise, it will get mixed in with dissimilar books, requiring a lot more sorting time.

This would not be an issue, but we are talking boxes and boxes and boxes of what I call mixed books. This past weekend, Pete (husband) and two other volunteers (Tony

Boxes of books

and Martha) indirectly set me straight by carefully sorting likes and unlikes, right out of the Gaylord. And so, it was much easier today, dealing with books, categorized, i.e., pregnancy, family health, sports, classics, etc.

It was my mixed book boxes that caused me considerable duress. This was because each time I pulled forth a book, I had to hunt down the specific box/category to which it belonged. And by then, I’d forgotten where some of these boxes might be because right now the books are housed in a small space. Someday, the books will occupy a much larger space, this is to say that we will have a large, beautiful store, one with windows and a beautiful wood floor. There will be a children’s area and all the shelves will match. But well, you have to start somewhere.

I was getting tired of figuring where each of the two hundred or so books in the mixed boxes were to go – a person can only do so much of this – when Robert, a VCRS Board Member, came and gave me an assist. He and Carole (the volunteer coordinator) actually saved the day today. Carole suggested that we use another shelf, one in the room adjacent to the bookstore. Robert then began putting categorized non-fiction books on these shelves. This then left more room on the Bright Lights Bookstore shelves.

By late afternoon, the cookbooks and romance novels were in one area, and the fiction hard and soft cover books were adjacent to them, on a multi-tier shelf. And boxes containing autobiography, history, and archeology were together on a shelf, and poetry and philosophy were on yet another shelf.

And in the adjacent distribution and sorting area –we have (again) a growing collection of children’s books and textbooks.

I concluded my work day by laying books of all sorts on the bookstore table. This was a marketing strategy. Patrons will walk in, see the books on the table, and decide to purchase one or two.

I now know that from this point in time on, when I enter a bookstore, it will be with a greater appreciation for those who stock bookstore shelves.

Next: 29. 1/29/20: Tyra and the Talking Trees

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