Books galore and all for charity
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.