Talk about a wonderful place to visit on a cold, gray day. There is nothing more welcoming than the book cellar of the Dover Public Library. You would never guess that descending those steps to the library basement would lead to such a comfortable, charming and welcoming hideaway.
There you will find hundreds of books, beautifully organized and listed in alphabetical order, which can be purchased for a pittance. There are also DVDs, CDs, audiobooks and magazines. Some donations come from domains, and the public is generous with donations. Prices vary for children from 10 cents to $, and for adults, from a quarter to $ 3, with some promotions being more expensive.
Over a period of twenty years, the Book Cellar, which began in a space as large as a closet, expanded to take up the entire basement, one shelf at a time, and helped to money each month to help with library programs and equipment. To name a few, they bought a 51-inch TV, headphones, waterproof keyboards, scanner, printer, history marker, and tables, and paid for shows like One Book, One Community, the Canal Town Book Festival and Civil War Day. .
Library Director Jim Gill said, “One of the best things the Book Cellar donates to is the Storybook Walk around Dover Park. The plexiglass books are arranged so that as you walk around the lake you can read the entire book. The books are changed every month. I believe the group donated $ 10,000 from their 2019 sales before COVID shut us down. That’s a lot when you consider the low cost of books.
It all became possible thanks to three dedicated seniors, Virginia Cassady, Joyce Cecil and Vickie Wittkop. They explained how it all started. Virginia, an avid genealogist, was visiting a library in another county, where they had a small “book cellar” that sold trash and donations. She asked the group of friends at the Dover Library if it could be done here, and they agreed. Bob Liberatore, a member of this council, spent many hours setting up the Cellar. He and Cassady worked together to keep it open for business every other Saturday. People responded well, both buying and donating books. In time, Esther Clark joined the couple and eventually took over as director.
As retired local English teachers like Joyce and Vickie, they started volunteering their time for the project. So when manager Gill started cleaning and purging, more and more space opened up, more and more people volunteered to work, and the bookstore expanded its opening hours to be open from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Vickie uses her creative talents to design all of the decor, which is seasonal and plentiful. Volunteers like Bonnie Rowe and Diane BonVechio spend an inordinate amount of time making the cellar bright and welcoming. Donations are controlled so that no smell of cigarette smoke, mold or mildew, or anything excessively pornographic is found on the shelves.
“Everything is cloroxed and sanitized,” Joyce said. “We were doing it before the pandemic. “
“We haven’t gone back to our usual activities,” said Vickie, “but we’re slowly getting back on our feet. We have special monthly and holiday deals, which you can find on our Face Book page, and we’re here to help.
The volunteers, Virginia, Joyce, and Vickie, are all well advanced, still climbing ladders and steps, cleaning and arranging. They would welcome anyone interested in volunteering and would always welcome donations. Stop by during the holidays. If you can’t do the stairs, there is an elevator. Once you understand the problem, you may never want to leave again.
(Editor’s Note: If you know of a senior who is unique and has a story to tell, please email Lee Elliott at [email protected] Please include their contact details so they can share their story. story with our readers.)