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Hampden residents propose book swap

By Jason Poole

Reminder Correspondent

HAMPDEN Hampden residents Cynthia Bailey and Patty Ehlers met with the Board of Selectmen on July 25 to propose a monthly community book swap for children and adults that would be held on the second Saturday of each month outside of the town hall, weather permitting.

The book swap would allow Hampden residents to bring a used book and take a different book brought in by another resident. Books in bad condition would not be acceptable to swap.

In the proposed plan submitted to the Selectmen, Bailey stated that the community book swap would serve three main purposes. It would provide a community literary event, offering an opportunity for Hampden residents to come together to share books and each other's company. It would ease the burden of traveling to distant libraries and purchasing books while the Hampden library is closed. And it would offer a community spirited positive outlet to help people cope with the loss of the library.

"Its really a civic event to help these children and the elderly who miss their library," said Ehlers.

The plan calls for two volunteers to oversee the book swap each month, and also says that the swap may evolve to offer reading programs and book discussions.

"A lot of people have expressed interest in it, but we don't expect a huge crowd," said Ehlers.

Ehlers also hopes to get corporate sponsors who would be willing to donate books.

The Selectmen endorsed the idea but wanted to get the input of the Library Trustees before they gave the proposed book swap final approval.

"I think it is appropriate to discuss it with the library trustees. We owe them the courtesy to let them know what is being planned," said Selectman James D. Smith.

Ehlers also said that the book swap is in no way intended to replace the library. She said she wants it to be held as long as the library as closed, no matter how long that may be.

Bailey said that she would call the Library Trustees and inform them of the proposed plan. If the Trustees don't have any objections, the Board agreed to approve the swap.

Smith also asked if it was the intention of Ehlers to store excess books as inventory at the town hall. Ehlers said that at this time that was not her intention, and if the issue comes about in the future she would first ask permission from the Board.

If the plan is approved, the first scheduled book swap would be held on Aug. 13 from 10-11 a.m.

"I am thankful that people come forward with these creative solutions," said Smith.

For more information, call Cindy Bailey at 566-8212.