Books ga­lore and all for char­ity

Havelock North Village Press - - Home Living -

Ju­dith Bartlett of Have­lock North is a self-con­fessed sec­ond­hand book­shop sleuth.

“Put me in any town and within 10 min­utes Iwill have found one,” she says.

Vis­it­ing Christchurch, Ju­dith dis­cov­ered the Dove char­ity book­shops.

“I got talk­ing and they told me they had started as one shop and ex­panded to five, and how much money they have been able to give back to the com­mu­nity.

“I thought— we have some spare room at St Columba’s Church, that could work here.”

Ju­dith and Rex got the goa­head, and there was no hold­ing them back.

“We put out a call for do­na­tions of books and they started com­ing in flat out.”

With a ros­ter of vol­un­teers, ev­ery­thing that comes into the shop is cat­a­logued, priced and shelved. There is ev­ery­thing in the shop from clas­sic to chick-lit, chil­dren’s books, sport­ing tomes, spe­cial in­ter­est items, vinyl records and mag­a­zines.

Craft and gar­den­ing books are pop­u­lar, Ju­dith says, rugby books go out quickly and lots of mums come in for chil­dren’s books.

“Some peo­ple read the books and then do­nate them back and buy some more.”

Al­ready there are reg­u­lars and that is part of Columba Books’ plan. It’s not just about send­ing readers home­with a new stack of books to en­joy, it’s about mak­ing a place for peo­ple to meet, chat and spend some time.

“Books are great con­ver­sa­tion starters,” ex­plains Ju­dith. “Peo­ple can wan­der in and browse. There is parking right out­side the door. Mums pop in at school pickup and drop-off. We have a com­mu­nity noticeboard and I’d like to think we’re cre­at­ing a bit of a com­mu­nity hub.You don’t even have to buy any­thing.” Ju­dith, a semi-re­tired teacher, has an ex­ten­sive knowl­edge of books and au­thors and she’s the right per­son to ask if you’re look­ing for some­thing in par­tic­u­lar.

“I price and shelve a lot of the books and if some­thing has passed through my hands I have a knack of re­mem­ber­ing it.”

She’s de­lighted at the re­sponse the book­shop has gained and is look­ing for­ward to seeing it ex­pand.

Columba Books is open week­days ex­cept Mon­day.

Do­na­tions are wel­comed— as are cus­tomers, vis­i­tors and chat.

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