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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Beacon Bits -- Bountiful Books

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."    
                                            - Charles Caleb Colton

It is a welcome sight to have yet another empty storefront on Main Street be occupied with a newly formed business for Beaconites and the ever-growing number of 'out-of-towners'. The multiple bakeries (All You Knead, Ellas Belllas, Beacon Bread Company, Get Frosted) and restaurants in town (see the recent post on A Little Beacon Blog for our great places to eat) both informal and formal, family-priced and upscale, slow and slower, local and global, are all proof that variations on a theme and more than one venue of its kind can be fiscally viable. And so it is very good to see that another book store, Binnacle Books, has opened its doors joining the ranks of the Howland Public Library and its neighboring book store, Beacon Reads, which opened its doors in 2000. Once can never have enough opportunity for enhancing literacy for Beaconites of all ages, but especially for the children, books need to be in our midst.
Binnacle Books
Beacon Reads
In addition to being known for its diverse selection of second hand books in excellent condition, Beacon Reads is probably the pioneer social entrepreneurial venture established in Beacon. Founded by the Friends of the Library, a 501(3)c affiliate of the library, it is a grass-roots, volunteer-run organization with the purpose of raising additional funds for the library budget. 
Marcia Frahman, President of the Friends of the Library & Co-Manager of Beacon Reads
In just the past two years, the Friends of the Library, filling its coffers mostly with book sales at Beacon Reads, has  purchased vouchers to the American Museum of Natural History, the Mid-Hudson Children's Museum, and Boscobel, which are available for library card holders at the circulation desk. In addition, monies for free music downloads and streaming, $1200 transportation money for the annual Teen Battle of the Books, $12,000 matching funds for the recent construction grant for the library, and $2,400 of technological equipment for the children's room, have been provided. That's a lot of book sales!

Beacon Reads is staffed by 11 volunteers and the store is open 7 days/week. Beacon Reads has been located next to the library for 15 years; it is well known in the community for Beacon's oldies and newcomers alike, to mingle, meet, converse, and hang out with neighbors, while browsing the shelves and searching for the perfect book to take home or give as a gift. Stop by sometime, you'll never know who you might meet!!

Zelda, a Puppies Behind Bars service-dog-in-training, visits Beacon Reads
Food for thought: It is a blessing to be able to read the written word. Concerns about literacy rates in the US is ongoing, with almost 25% of adults reading below a 5th grade level, 20% of HS graduates unable to read, and 70% of inmates in American prisons not being able to read above the 4th grade level (April 2013, US Department of Education.) It will take more than a bounty of books to turn these trends around. But having access to books - be they borrowed or bought -- is an important environmental support in every community. Just knowing that there are 2 bookstores and 1 public library within 2 blocks of each other in Beacon is a cultural statement that Beacon does indeed read!!

"To Do List"

Donate your unwanted books to Beacon Reads -- all the dollars earned are given right back into your hands with unique funding initiatives for the library.
Update your library card.
Browse the shelves of our local independent bookseller.
Become a member of the Friends of the Howland Public Library.
Bring a child along to buy, lend or donate a book to Beacon Reads.
Volunteer to read to children at a local school.
Pick up a book instead of the remote or the laptop.
Support groups like Reach Out and Read with its aim of giving children a book during pediatric visits from birth to age 5, which reinforces the concept that literacy takes root in infancy and toddler hood, a campaign that the American Pediatric Association supports.

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