By Brooke Rogers

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Books earmarked for donation to the University Park Public Library have piled up since the coronavirus crept from spring into summer.

“With the library being closed for an extended period of time because of COVID-19 and then having reduced hours because of restrictions, people were still donating books, but we didn’t have an outlet to sell them,” said Michael Gerstle, president of the Friends of the University Park Public Library. “We had boxes and boxes of books with nowhere to go, and it was very sad, because they really needed new homes.”

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Thus they hatched a plan: a pop-up bookstore to give the books a second chapter — and the library the proceeds.

“It gives us a storefront literally to the public to help us bring awareness to what we do, to help raise awareness for the University Park library,” said Gerstle.

The bookstore is open two days a week and is operated entirely by volunteers.

“We have volunteers signing up. We have volunteers to sort the books, and so whatever capacity your book-loving personality is, we’ve got it here,” said Ashley Blanchette, Chief Operating Officer of Second Chapter Bookstore.

And the community is already showing its support.

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“I think it’s great. Fabulous,” said customer Beth Dargene. “Why not? People read books and then what do you do, hang onto them? And then donate them.”

The prices of the books follow a very simple structure. Most hardcover books are $4. Paperback are either $3 or $1 depending on the size.

“Not everybody can afford to spend $25 or $35 on a hardback book. They can come here and buy it for $4, so it helps the community in some pretty tough financial times,” Gerstle said.

An idea dubbed “The Quarantine Project” that organizers hope will long outlast its name.

Pandemic pop-up bookstore (credit: CBS 11 News)


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