By Leon Romero
La Habra Journal
When you enter the La Habra Library building you’re probably used to making the first right to enter the main library, but if you look further down the hallway to the left you’ll find one of La Habra’s hidden gems.
The room at the end of the hallway is the Friends of the La Habra Library Bookstore, which opened for business in 1992 and has raised well over $100,000 to assist with the library’s modernization.
Inside the store customers will find that all of the books are priced at 50 cents, with the exceptions of one specially marked shelf with books priced up to $3 and any magazines or books on the shelves outside of the room priced at 10¢.
Before that room became a bookstore it was a county office, and the library staff held book sales within the library twice a year. Marianne Getz began volunteering for the bookstore in 1996 and was eventually made co-manager along with her husband Leon Getz, who is the bookstore’s current president.
“The bookstore was opened to raise funds for the library,” Marianne Getz said. “During the recession the state was giving the library nothing for books, and the money from the story was a way they could buy new books.”
The bookstore has raised impressive funds that have allowed the branch manager, Jill Patterson, to purchase new items including books, DVDs, chairs, tables, curtains, flooring, and most recently two ASUS desktop computers with children learning programs. It has also funded several library programs including the Thursday Spectacular events during the Summer Reading program by providing funds for materials, prizes, and performers.
Since its opening, local volunteers looking to support the library have staffed the bookstore. The bookstore is currently in search of more volunteers to work two-hour shifts once a week.
According to bookstore co-manager Melanie Dennis, if people would like to sign up to volunteer, they may leave your name and contact information with the bookstore cashier.
The books sold at the store are all either donations from the public or books being discarded by the library.
Twenty-year La Habra resident, Nancy Rapadas, is a regular at this store that makes sure to donate the books elsewhere when she’s finished with them, because she admits to having accidentally bought a book she had previously donated to the bookstore.
“My two sons gave me a Nook tablet, but it’s still too expensive to buy books on there, so I just buy paperbacks here—$1 for ten books, you can’t beat that deal,” Rapadas said.
Another manner in which the bookstore raises funds is through the annual membership donations from residents and businesses.
Inside the store visitors can find a yellow sheet that you turn into the bookstore cashier with your information and donation in order to become a member.
There are seven different memberships you can sign up for with the lowest one being an Individual Member for $10 per year and the highest being a Life Member for $200 per year.
Once your membership is approved you’ll receive a membership card, the quarterly newsletters, and a $5 gift card for the bookstore in the mail.
According to the Summer 2016 newsletter from the bookstore, they made a total income of $19,334 from June 2015 to April 2016. While the total spent during the same time frame on materials and programs was $8,642.
The next two library renovations on Patterson’s list are to turn the multiple information desks within the library into a one-desk system and to upgrade the electric power system. With many changes coming from the civic center relocation project the library staff is preparing to move the main entrance and book-drop zone with help from the bookstore.
“The Friends of the La Habra Library Bookstore is the strongest supporter of the library,” Patterson said. “We wouldn’t be where we are now without them.”