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shapes and sizes were cut-out newspaper articles, postcards, photos, 2UE thank you for a tip to Burkes Backyard, an outdated Australian money order and an old Qantas baggage receipt.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