Quer­cus cel­e­brates decade

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - BY CORAL COOKSLEY

MANY happy mem­o­ries were shared as vol­un­teers, staff and com­mu­nity mem­bers last Satur­day cel­e­brated the Quer­cus Com­mu­nity Book­shop’s 10th an­niver­sary held in the Quer­cus com­mu­nity gar­den lo­cated be­hind the book­shop.

At­tend­ing the spe­cial oc­ca­sion was Ju­dith Lazarus (OAM) who was the for­mer man­ager of the Beech­worth Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre now known as Quer­cus Beech­worth.

With a sec­ond-hand book­shop pro­posal to the Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre com­mit­tee a decade ago with some un­cer­tainty about its fu­ture, Ms Lazarus said the so­cial en­ter­prise pro­ject proved to be an amaz­ing suc­cess story.

“Hun­dreds of books were do­nated by the com­mu­nity,” she said.

Ms Lazarus re­counted help given that in­cluded a Beech­worth Cor­rec­tional Cen­tre’s com­mu­nity team who worked on the set-up at the book­shop premises for three months that in­cluded paint­ing and re­pair of book shelves sourced from La Trobe Univer­sity too.

“It was in­cred­i­ble with the so many peo­ple in­volved and was an ‘A-team’ ef­fort,” she said.

“It’s been a credit to Jan Ryan in keep­ing the book­shop go­ing as well as all the vol­un­teers, and with Don Pope and com­mit­tee mem­bers at the time hav­ing faith in the pro­posal,” she said.

Quer­cus Beech­worth’s Ms Ryan said her decade-long en­gage­ment with the book­shop started when she walked in to send a fax from the premises.

Ap­proached about be­ing a vol­un­teer, Ms Ryan said had had never worked in a com­mu­nity neigh­bour­hood house be­fore and thought she would learn a lot from Ms Lazarus.

“I’ve had great fun ever since,” she said. Ms Ryan said the Quer­cus book­slop was a won­der­ful place to vol­un­teer and meet peo­ple in the com­mu­nity.

She said hun­dreds of in­ter­est­ing mem­o­ra­bilia found in books used as book­marks were des­tined for a dis­play board.

Among hun­dreds of them in all shapes and sizes were cut-out news­pa­per ar­ti­cles, post­cards, pho­tos, 2UE thank you for a tip to Burkes Back­yard, an out­dated Aus­tralian money order and an old Qan­tas bag­gage re­ceipt.

A vol­un­teer for more than nine years, Beech­worth’s Chris McColl said the book­shop en­gaged the com­mu­nity, of­fered work ex­pe­ri­ence as well as pro­vid­ing train­ing for vol­un­teers as shop as­sis­tants. “It’s much more than a book­shop,” she said. “Tourists are wel­comed to the town and are of­ten helped with di­rec­tions too.”

Ms McColl said peo­ple do­nated books from around the re­gion and as far as Mel­bourne.

“They’ve of­ten been here on hol­i­days and of­ten bring them in when pass­ing through,” she said.

Stan­ley’s Bar­bara Grey said the book­shop with its wel­com­ing at­mos­phere felt like she was join­ing a group of friends when she started vol­un­teer­ing six and a half years ago.

“Tourists are happy to buy books know­ing that funds go back into the com­mu­nity,” she said.

Quer­cus Beech­worth man­ager Ju­dith Doughty said through Ms Lazaru’s vi­sion, the thriv­ing book­shop with its ded­i­cated vol­un­teers has con­tin­ued to pro­vide an in­come stream and con­trib­uted to the com­mu­nity.

Ms Doughty said the book­shop gen­er­ated close to a third of Quer­cus Beech­worth’s rev­enue with sev­enty per­cent of books pur­chased by tourists.

CEL­E­BRATED: Quer­cus Beech­worth man­ager Ju­dith Doughty (left) with Quer­cus Beech­worth’s Jan Ryan, for­mer Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre man­ager Ju­dith Lazarus (OAM) and ear­lier com­mit­tee mem­ber Don Pope at the sec­ond-hand book­shop’s 10th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion last Satur­day held in the Quer­cus com­mu­nity gar­den sur­rounded by book­mark mem­o­ra­bilia.

FRIENDS: Vol­un­teers Kylli Vasey, Prue Everett and Mag­gie Tyrie.

BOOK LOVERS: Vol­un­teers Chris­tine Calthorpe (left) from Beech­worth and Stan­ley’s Sally McKay and Bar­bara Gray.

SHARED MEM­O­RIES: Lo­cal vol­un­teers Erin Pas­coe, Jill Keith and Chris McColl rem­i­nisced at the Quer­cus Book­shop’s 10th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion last Satur­day.

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