Crowds flocked to Mizzentop Day School over the weekend to enjoy Pawling Library’s Annual Giant Book Sale. In addition to the all-day sale on June 14th and 15th, Mizzentop will open its doors again for the weekend of June 20th – 22nd, to accommodate the large turnout that has only grown more impressive over the two decades since its inception. Boasting over 25,000 titles separated into 35 categories, the sale includes audio-books, CDs and DVDs in addition to hard-covers and paperbacks.
Casey Conlin, the Director of Pawling Library since December, proudly notes that “not a lot of libraries do this on this scale,” especially not ones in communities as small as Pawling. On Friday alone, twenty volunteers helped to set up and organize the sale. This is only the library’s second year at this location, formerly held in Lakeside’s Recreation building and under giant, white tents lining Charles Colman Boulevard. It was a smart move – with such an extensive collection, the sale needed a more spacious, indoor home.
Though the sale is ultimately a fundraiser for library programs and collection development, “part of it is about finding a home for a book,” says Conlin. “Everybody cringes when they have to throw out a book. This is a way to give a book a second shot.”
Once bringing in around $500 yearly, the expansive sale now nets over $10,000, comprising a third of the library’s annual donations. Leftover books will be picked up by Better World Books, a nonprofit organization that holds literacy programs and sends donated books overseas.
The Book Sale, while a much-beloved community tradition, is only the tip of the iceberg as far as what Pawling Library offers. In 2013, the library offered $1,071,042 of services, resulting in 57,781 patron visits. Homebound delivery is now also available for Pawling residents who are unable to make the trip.
Moreover, their website has undergone a user-friendly makeover so that patrons have a “go-to spot” for book research or information on adult, young adult, and child programming. For instance, Nicole Curcio, the ambitious new YA Coordinator, has created a summer lineup of programming geared towards teens including cooking classes, a workshop on crime and evidence collection, documentary screenings, picnics, and game nights. Adolescents can also get involved as “Teen Geeks,” a volunteer tech squad providing walk-in tech support for Pawling residents. Library computers even have language-learning software (a la Rosetta Stone) called Mango, free to anyone with a library card.
The library’s reach extends beyond its four walls and right onto the Appalachian Trail. When Dover and Pawling were declare an official “A.T. Community,” Conlin and Dover Library Director Susan Totter oversaw the installation of small shelters, called Little Free Libraries, along the trail with books for hikers to enjoy. Pawling Library also held a Q & A about the Trail and assembled backpacks for hikers.
Perhaps even more exciting than the website and A.T. participation are the proposed renovations to occur at the library. Conlin shared that, “We hired an architect, and we are going to be expanding our building.” Although he does not have details yet, he welcomes feedback from the community since the purpose of the renovations is to respond to patrons’ needs. The expanded Library is slated to offer a dedicated children’s space, teens’ space, and more seating.
You can access Pawling Library’s comprehensive new website at http://www.pawlingfreelibrary.org/ – or better yet, stop in the cozy brick building on Broad Street and experience the friendly staff, peaceful atmosphere and myriad of services for yourself.
Caption: 95% of Book Sale books are obtained through donations from Pawlingites, the others are old books removed from library circulation.