Oro Valley has a new bookshop, being operated as a second location for the all-volunteer Friends of the Oro Valley Public Library.
Book Shoppe Too opened a month ago in the Cañada Crossroads development on the southwest corner of La Cañada and Lambert. The shop meets a number of needs for the Friends — increased visibility, more space, and the chance to generate more revenue to support the library’s collection, programming and capital needs.
“Every dollar we take in is ‘profit’ to be poured back into the library,” said Patty Urch, the retired schoolteacher who is managing Book Shoppe Too.
“One of our main purposes is to keep the library in the Town of Oro Valley,” said JoAnn Dumas, director of book operations and board member for the Friends. “That’s why we work as hard as we do. We are a part of the Town of Oro Valley, a really visible part.”
For five years, the Friends have sold books at their Book Shoppe, inside the public library. At any given time, there may be 6,000 books for sale. The organization receives many books — each semi-annual Friends book sale has more than 20,000 books for the public — and there’s simply not enough space at the library to hold all its operations.
For years, the Friends used a home rented from the late Millie Dunn as their “sorting house,” where donated books are evaluated for library use or sale. Dunn was “wonderful,” Dumas said. “Without her help, without her house, we wouldn’t be this far.”
After Dunn passed away, the Friends “had to look for something else,” Dumas said. “While we were looking, we thought about retail. What better place to have another book shop?”
The Friends are leasing a 1,100-square-foot space in Cañada Crossroads. Book Shoppe Too is open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Urch hopes the hours will expand as clientele and volunteer ranks grow. Urch, former president of the library friends in Payson, said the new location has 14 volunteer employees. She touts ample parking, the proximity to Harvest, Curves and other businesses, and its special collection of books.
Several categories — rare and collectible books, oldies but goodies, arts and literature among them — are being “primarily displayed” at Book Shoppe Too, Urch said. Lovers of rare books “make big comments” about the new section. “I’m seeing a group of people who love just those kinds of things.”
Book Shoppe Too has sections for children, young adults, cooking, fiction, history, science fiction, biography and other books. “We will not have all the categories housed in the other book shop,” Urch said. The two shops can rotate offerings.
The Friends plan to expand the display space at Book Shoppe Too as they move boxed books to another space. “We have nothing electronic. It doesn’t beep or flash or do the things that are a huge part of our culture now. Our staff and patrons are true book-lovers.
“We’re an unusual gender of human being, the book-lovers are,” Urch said. “You couldn’t do this if you didn’t love books.”
Business is picking up, Dumas said.
“In the beginning, we had no sign. Now we have a banner.” A sign is coming. Members of the town council attended a grand-opening event March 4.
Sale proceeds go to library programs, in particular offerings for children. Over the years, the Friends have purchased computers, patio furniture, a roof for the patio, a large-type reader, “whatever the library needs,” Dumas said.
Dumas doesn’t hide her passion. The library “belongs to the town, it belongs to the people of Oro Valley.”
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Sorting books is big part of Friends’ operation
Much of the space at Book Shoppe Too is filled with boxes of books being sorted by subject, “the real significant backroom operation,” Friends board member and director of book operations JoAnn Dumas said.
“If we didn’t do this, we couldn’t do anything else,” she said.
Sorting is done under the eye of Sally Bartley, who “spearheads and ramrods” that activity and also serves as the new store’s assistant manager.
“When books are donated, No. 1, we ask, will a book be useful in the library?” said Patty Urch, Book Shoppe Too manager. “That’s the first place we think of things going.” Some are replacements for books “that have been loved to death.” Others fulfill requests for certain authors or titles. Each year, the Friends donate a large number of books to the library’s collection, which “saves an incredible amount of money for the library,” Urch continued.
Donated books are further examined for their desirability to sell, either at a book sale, in a bookstore or online. The Friends’ online book sales effort, managed by Lee Marchitelli, is being moved from the library to the new shop this week. Sorters identify first editions, signed copies, leather-bound books, oversized copies, “big and beautiful and rare” books for sale over the Internet, Dumas said. “We get so many donated books, lovely books.”
Many books are sold to the public. Before the next semi-annual Friends book sale, which begins March 30, boxes of books are being stacked in the new space. “We’ve already outgrown” the new space, Urch said.
For more info
What: Book Shoppe Too
Operated by: Friends of the Oro Valley Public Library
Where: 10355 N. La Cañada, Suite 173, in the Cañada Crossroads center, southwest corner of La Cañada and Lambert
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Saturday