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Sarasota Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017 1 year ago

Selby bookstore turns new page

The bookstore at Selby Public Library celebrates new beginning after renovations.
by: Anna Brugmann Community Editor

Times may be changing, but Ken Newmark and Denise Chimbos of Friends of Selby Library believe there are some people that will always prefer to hold a book.

In fact, they’re banking on it. The pair, along with Friends of Selby Library volunteers, reopened their recently renovated bookstore to customers the weekend of Sept. 30 and will host a grand reopening on Oct. 20-21.

“Our primary mission of the bookstore is to raise money for the library, and I thought that, given that fact, it needed to be refreshed,” Newmark said.

So Newmark brought his proposal before the board, who agreed that their beloved bookstore, located inside Selby Public Library, was due for an upgrade.The bookstore had been expanded and renovated to some extent about 10 years ago.

“It was just tired,” Chimbos said.

So Newmark and Chimbos got to work waking it up. The organization teamed up with a Sarasota County designer who identified several criteria to improve the space.

“It was a jigsaw puzzle,” Chimbos said.

Aisles were widened to make it more accessible for people with disabilities. The checkout counter was moved from the right corner to the center to make the entrance appear more open.

“I wanted it warm so that it drew you in,” Newmark said. “Now I have to go out in get the customers.”

Newmark and Chimbos said even in light of the its recent renovation, the bookstore’s main challenge is visibility.

“It’s amazing how many people don’t know that we’re here,” Chimbos said.

Although it might seem counterintuitive to buy a book in a library, the pair said, for some, buying a low-cost book is a better option. For those looking to stock shelves in their winters, or students that need a book for required reading, but don’t want to pay full price for it elsewhere, Chimbos said the offers a valuable alternative.

The organization just has to let those people know the bookstore exists.

To that end, the Friends of Selby Library are introducing artist partnerships and reaching out to senior residences like Plymouth Harbor.

“We’re trying to give them value, because there is value,” Newmark said. “Our collection is very good. It’s all donated, so today it will be different than tomorrow.”

So far the renovation reception has been warm among frequent patrons, and Newmark and Chimbos hope that spells good news for their next objective.

“That’s what I see is our future,” Newmark said. “Our future has to be getting more and more people here.”

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