There’s a cool little cubbyhole a sharp left turn just inside the door to the Wellington Public Library located in the Leeper Community Center, 3800 Wilson Avenue. Not much bigger than a good-sized master bedroom, the “On Your Honor” used bookstore opened in January 2014, a project of the Wellington Friends of the Library spearheaded by long-time Wellington volunteer, Mary Anne Martell.
Attractive shelves donated by Debi and Don Bade, owners of Microbial Research in Fort Collins line the walls. According to Martell, the works of fiction are by far the most popular, but you’ll also find non-fiction, biographies, children’s books, travel and self-help. And the prices are right: $1 for hardbacks, 50 cents for paperbacks.
Martell’s husband, Ed Harris, makes creative clocks out of used books that are sold in the bookstore. “There’s always time to read,” Martell said. “That’s our motto.”
It’s possible to carry home an armload of books, having spent very little money and knowing you’ve made a welcome contribution to the Friends of the Library. Founded in 1994, a couple of years after the Wellington library moved into space in the Leeper Center, the organization has supported the special needs and activities of the library for more than 20 years.
Friends of the Library is a national organization dedicated to supporting public libraries through their fundraising efforts. Annual dues are $10.
Library operations are funded by the city, there’s no money left over for extras such as contest prizes, replacement computer equipment, special events, materials for children’s programs and books, tapes and movies that are not a part of the regular budget. The Friends make these extras possible. They also support author visits and the library’s summer reading program. All profits from the used bookstore go to the library. Currently it is the organization’s only fundraiser.
Generous donors have filled the shelves, often with books that are quite new. Volunteers sort the books, place stickers in them serve as shopkeepers.
Martell joined the Friends shortly after it came into being because of her friendship with Louise Meiman, one of the founders. Both women remember when the library got its start in 1979 in a small building behind the current location of the Wellington Grill on main street, once the Wellington Post Office. The building had been the home of the postmaster.
Since the library moved into the Leeper Center, it has expanded twice, in 1992 and 2003, and is now a spacious area with a bank of computers for public use, an inviting children’s area, and wide, accessible aisles.
As Wellington grows and more young families move into the area, Martell hopes to encourage membership in the Friends organization. The tasks are fun and not time-consuming. Volunteers who spend two hours sorting donations for the used bookstore can go home with a book of their choice. Giving time is also an easy way to work off overdue book fines.
Martell invites anyone who is interested to give her a call a 568-3401 or just show up at the Friends monthly meeting, 4:45 p.m., the first Monday of every month. “It’s a great way to get acquainted if you are new to the community,” she said.