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A little shop that has lots of knowledge

By Erin O'Connor

Staff Writer

WESTFIELD In Westfield a small downtown store has big fantasies. Susan Newman, has put her life-long dream to reality with the opening of her shop, Dragonfly Books. It houses new and previously read books.

"It is something I wanted to do for a long time- I love books," Newman, an avid reader said to the Reminder.

The picturesque bookstore is housed in State Representative Don Humason's former office at 71 Elm Street. The shop offers customers a selection of over 3,500 titles and 14 different categories of books including children's literature, the classics, mystery and suspense.

"If we don't have a book that you want then we will order it for you," Newman said, who has been aiding children, adults and college students with finding books since the store's opening last spring.

The store offers the comfort of couches, chairs and a fireplace while one browses through selections. Shoppers also have the option to purchase handcrafted items by local artisans in the shop. These items include jewelry, soaps, quilts, framed art and seasonal items.

"There are 15 different local artisans currently on consignment here," Newman said. "It is a nice venue for people. A lot only do the craft fair circuit."

Newman, a member of Westfield on Weekends (WOW), said the shop had to be in a downtown area and when she found this space, "all the stars seemed to line up."

Newman and the shop will participate in WOW's Dickens' Days coming up in December. The front window of the shop will be decorated with a Victorian theme to match the time of the celebration. Santa Claus will make two appearances at the shop on Dec. 9 and Dec. 16.

The bookstore is currently the site of a Thanksgiving Food drive that will run until Nov. 20. If three non-perishable food items are donated at the shop, they can be exchanged for a paperback of the giver's choice. The limit is two paperbacks per participant and all proceeds will benefit the Samaritan Inn.

On Nov. 15, the shop will host a "Create -a-book" party for adults. A small fee will entitle participants to materials that are pre-constructed to be personalized and used to create a book. The book can house any theme such as pictures of children, pets, etc. It resembles a scrapbook theme. On Dec. 6 an instructor will come to the store to teach a two and a half hour class on acrylic painting on wood. To sign up for this or any of these programs call Newman at 564-0040.

Newman encourages members of the community to come forward with ideas about book discussions and writing groups. She said these are the kinds of programs she'd like to present.

Dragonfly accepts donations of books and will buy certain titles and authors from those willing to sell. The price of books in the store range anywhere from the $.99 - $5.49 in range.

"We buy new stuff all the time. Our inventory is constantly changing," Newman said. She said the store currently houses authors such as James Patterson, Nora Roberts, and Sandra Brown.

Complimentary muffins, coffee, tea and hot chocolate are offered to patrons who shop in the store on Saturday mornings and on Sundays between now and Christmas.