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A Library's Best Friend: The Friends of Ferguson Library Book Shop

By S. Mathur

What is a library's best friend? A book shop, of course. Especially a book shop that helps to raise funds for the library. The Friends of Ferguson Library Book Shop in Stamford, CT is a thriving used book shop that donates all profits to library programs. It operates out of two locations: one next to the Ferguson Library's Main Branch downtown, and the other at the Harry Bennett Branch on Vine Road.

The book shop is a volunteer operation run by the Friends of Ferguson Library, a nonprofit organization that raises money to help support the Ferguson Library and its programs. These include summer reading, book discussions, film programs and cultural events, as well as library staff development and scholarships.

As book lovers well know, browsing a well-stocked used bookstore offers an experience that cannot be replicated through online shopping. Visitors to the book shop will find a range of books, music and movies. The collection includes books in all categories: fiction, children's books, and nonfiction including art, religion, travel, business, science, cooking and history. There is a wide selection of CDs, DVDs and audio books for movie nights and long road trips.

The book shop also offers excellent value. Severia Drake, the Book Shop Manager, says, "Our prices are super competitive with other used book shops and online. We pride ourselves on having an eclectic array of books, including signed copies, large print editions, classics, local history, Bibles, record albums, comics & magazines in great condition at a great price. We get many newly published books that we sell for more than 60%-80% off retail; no tax or shipping fees, it's a better deal than Amazon!"

The different locations attract different customers. The downtown location sees a lot of travelers and commuters, while the HBB Book Shop is frequented by Stamford residents and families. The friendly staff in both locations love to help customers find what they're looking for, and particularly relish challenging searches. A sure sign of a dedicated bookseller, Drake says that she thrives on finding the books customers are looking for, and filling their requests.

Patrons include a steady stream of library users as well, who are looking for bargains, rare books & treasures and inexpensive paperbacks to send with the kids to camp. The local Starbucks in the Main Library is connected by a door into the book shop. It is decorated with books from the shop for sale at $1-$3 each.

The Friends of Ferguson Library Book Shop helps to create connections not only within the library but within the local community as well. At a time when bookstores and even books are seen as becoming obsolete, a thriving bookstore is a sign of a strong community and a rich cultural and intellectual life. The book shop has plans for a busy summer. A current "Discover the Dinosaurs" promotion with a variety of dinosaur books is partnering with the downtown dinosaur sculpture exhibit. There will be a sale on all adult & teen fiction from July 6 to 11. And the bookstore will be on the Bedford Street sidewalk on Saturday mornings coinciding with the Farmers' Market downtown all summer. Both shop locations rely on donations and volunteers, and are open during library hours.

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