Washingtonville FOML Bookstore:
A Corner Shop in an Historic Building
By Eugenia Moskowitz
The Friends Of Moffat Library Bookstore in Washingtonville opened in November 2017 with just a handful of used books donated by patrons. But in two short years, it has grown to completely fill its glass-walled corner shop inside the historic Moffat Library’s main entry hall, giving it a unique perspective on the library’s renovated interior as well as on bookselling. “We think part of our success,” FOML president Mary Ann Marrero said, “is our high turnover rate: we have new books coming in all the time via donations, and we completely clear out our older stock every three months, offering the public an ever-changing array of fiction and non-fiction at a rapid pace. So every time a patron comes into the library and stops by our store, they experience a whole new set of reading choices.”
With a short shelf-life, people are encouraged to stop by more often and check out not only books but other media such as DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks, she said. Regular hard-cover and paperback books range in appropriateness from children to teen to adult interests (including large-print), and are shelved accordingly. Donations from the public, ranging from a few books to full boxes, are made when the library is open (see hours below), and volumes in good condition are separated from ripped or damaged books and selected for placement.
The bookstore often holds its popular “Bag of Books” sales, where bags can be stuffed for a fixed price. “This does two things,” Marerro said, “it helps turn over stock while allowing people to bring home reading material in an even more thrifty way. The event draws families and always feels like a celebration, with children hugging their giant bags of books like trophies. To see children able fill their homes with books that are theirs forever makes us happy, and feel like the volunteer hours we put in are worth it.” The next Bag of Books sale will be October 30 from 12:30-3:30, she said.
All proceeds go entirely to library programming and services, such as last year’s intake of $2,000, which helped to finance, among other things, access to Ancestry.com, which anyone with a library card can use for free through the Moffat Library website. “We also hold cultural events,” program chair Roberta Warfield said, “such as our recent trip to the Mark Twain house, and we have author readings as well.”
Who are these FOML members? “We tend to be retired women but we welcome anybody who wants to volunteer, including women with young children in school,” Marerro said. Some members recalled how, when their children were little, volunteering got them out of the house and meeting new people outside of school, PTA, sports, or other kids’ activities. “Anyone who loves books and has useful ideas for the bookstore is welcome to be a part of FOML.”
The FOML Bookstore is open Tuesdays 10:15-2:00, Thursdays 2:00-7:30, and (starting September 7) Saturdays 10:15-3:00. With more volunteers, Marrero explained, the bookstore could offer still more opening hours on more days. “Everyone is welcome at our next FOML meeting on September 10 at 6:30 at the community room inside Moffat,” she said.
CAPTION: Friends of Moffat Library (FOML) members at the FOML Bookstore greet patrons at their corner shop inside the Moffat Library’s entry hall. From l. to r.: members Michelle Bako and Madeline Hurley, program chair Roberta Warfield, and president Mary Ann Marrero. (Not pictured: fundraising chair Sue Ann Vogelsberg and member Julie Ploski.)