Book Bargains: Given Bookshop Offers Something for All
Tucked away in the Olmsted Village shopping center, the Given Bookshop offers readers a fantastic selection of books at bargain prices.
It will soon start its fifth year of catering to the tastes of the area's book-loving public.
Opened in the middle of June 2004, the Given Bookshop is run by the Friends of Given Memorial Library, the privately funded institution that serves as a public library for the village of Pinehurst. It is the major fundraising source for the Friends.
The other fundraising events are a holiday concert in December, and a literary luncheon in June. This year's luncheon is set for Saturday, June 7, and will feature Richard Mandell, renowned golf course architect, who has specialized in the renewal and restoration of Donald Ross courses. He is the author of "Pinehurst -- Home of American Golf."
According to Jean Funderburg, manager of the Given Bookshop, most Friends of the Library organizations are designed to provide "extras" for a library.
"We don't have that luxury," she says. "Our contribution is a necessary income source."
Last year, Given Memorial Library received $67,000 from the shop to help meet current obligations.
"That figure has increased substantially each year the Bookshop has been in operation," says Funderburg.
She mentions that the bookshop has grown each year -- both in numbers of books that pass through the doors, and the amount of money the Friends have been able to give to the library.
The idea for the bookshop had been discussed for several years prior to its opening. The Friends had traditionally had a book sale twice a year, and over the years had been allowed to store the books for upcoming sales in the Pinehurst Village Hall, because of lack of space in the library itself.
The time came, however, when the space was no longer available, because the Village of Pinehurst needed it for administrative purposes. When that took place, the vision for the bookshop became a reality.
"Olmsted Village was very cooperative in working with us to find a space at a price we could afford," says Jean Funderburg, "At first we were worried that we would run out of books in between the two semi-annual book sales. But that has definitely not been a problem. As a matter of fact we also rented a space two doors down from the original location, which we call the annex. One-half of the space serves as a workroom where we sort the books, and the other half is devoted to books, mostly paperbacks, that sell for $1."
Staffed entirely by volunteers, Given Bookshop was open originally from Tuesday through Saturday, but they received so many requests to be open on Monday that they expanded the schedule to include six days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More than 60 people form the volunteer corps for the bookshop.
With two people working each shift -- one from 10 to 1, and the other from 1 to 4, it is a well-organized operation. Volunteers have experience with books -- either they are voracious readers themselves, or they have been teachers or librarians. Some work once a week, while others may volunteer once or twice a month. A list of about 20 substitutes is kept up to date to fill in on a short-term basis.
Included in the duties of the volunteers is a schedule of housekeeping chores such as vacuuming and watering the plants.
"We are very self-sufficient," says Funderburg.
Well-stocked with books for every reader's preference, the Given Bookshop has been called "the best book store in North Carolina" by a group of three women who regularly travel from Wilmington to peruse the updated selections.
Other customers can find a large assortment of mysteries, romance novels and the best of recently-published fiction. There is a fine selection of nonfiction, including religious books, and big sellers are works on golf and those dealing with historical topics, such as the Civil War and World War II.
"People come in looking for something satisfying to read -- for the most part, they aren't building a library," Funderburg says. "Around the holiday time, we find those who buy a book for everyone in their family, and favorites are the coffee table books, all in good condition, which can be purchased at very reasonable prices."
The Given Bookshop does receive a fair amount of books that are considered not salable, either because of their age, or because there is no audience for them. Working with a man in Chapel Hill, who will try to sell these books on e-Bay, the Bookshop realized about $6,000 from that source in the last year. Textbooks are given to Sandhills Community College. In the case of multiple copies of the same work of fiction or a mystery, the extras are given away to nursing homes or sent to troops overseas through Fort Bragg.
Supplementing the shelves of books is a substantial choice of movies on VHS, audio tapes, CDs and some DVDs. Also on display are works of local artists that are for sale, with a percentage of the selling price benefiting the shop. And there are prints and photos from the Tufts Archives available for purchase, too.
The Given Bookshop has an attraction all its own, though. Where can you find a shop where the prices haven't been increased over the last four years? Or where the sales tax is included in the price of your purchase? Both of these benefits are present at this unique Pinehurst bookstore.
In a period when the economy is on everyone's mind, maybe it would be a good time to visit the Given Bookshop and pick up some good springtime reading.
Contact Pinehurst freelance writer Mary Elle Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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