Celebrating Books (and helping a library!) at The Bookstore Plus

Last night was one of those nights when it was absolutely magical to be part of a community of people who love reading and care about books and libraries. Sarah and Marc Galvin, the owners of the fantastic Bookstore Plus in Lake Placid, hosted a benefit fundraiser for the Wells Memorial Library in Upper Jay, NY, which suffered major damage and lost its entire children’s collection in flooding during Tropical Storm Irene. The event came together in a flurry of generosity and talent.

When Albany artist/illustrator Laura Hamor heard what was happening, she volunteered her time and materials for a community art project. Laura often does artist-in-residence projects in schools, and she was amazing with the kids who  settled in for a night of sculpting and imagining!  Laura also donated a beautiful art supplies basket to be raffled off.

My daughter, who loves to make jewelry,  wanted to help, too. So Sarah and Marc set her up at a table in the middle of the bookstore, where she offered up hand-made earrings for a minimum donation to the library.

She ended up raising almost a hundred dollars to add to the library fund!

And of course, there were the books!

The Bookstore Plus is donating 20% of sales from the evening to the library fund. Authors Erin Dionne, Amy Guglielmo, Jon Katz, Ammi-Joan Paquette and I spoke and signed books throughout the night, including many that were ordered from afar. (Thank you!)

From left to right: Sarah Galvin, co-owner of The Bookstore Plus and the organizer of this whole amazing night, Erin Dionne, Amy Guglielmo, me, and Ammi-Joan Paquette. (I don’t have a picture of Jon because he spoke later on and was hidden by a crowd of book and dog lovers by the time I found my camera.)

Above, Ammi-Joan Paquette talks about NOWHERE GIRL, her beautiful new novel for middle grade readers. I love this book & will be blabbing about it in a lot more detail soon, but for now…just know that it should be on your to-read list. Next to Ammi-Joan, you can see Erin Dionne, whose NOTES FROM AN ACCIDENTAL BAND GEEK is warm and wonderful and so, so funny; and Amy Guglielmo, whose TOUCH THE ART series is amazing for introducing little kids to fine art in a way that’s friendlier than the necessary “no-touch” museum policies!

Lake Placid’s terrific Northwoods Inn donated rooms for authors who traveled from far away, and The Bookstore Plus staff worked hard to sort donations and get everything organized for the silent auction.  Illustrators, authors, and publishing folks from all over the country sent signed books and original art to be included in that auction, which raised a whole bunch of money (“a whole bunch” is the unofficial tally…as I’m not sure of the final amount!)

At the end of the night, I left the store tired but still laughing and feeling so thankful to have been part of this event. It was such a warm and wonderful example of how both independent bookstores and libraries really are the hearts of their communities.

The best news of all?  The chair of the library’s board of directors was there with a fantastic update.  Repairs and rebuilding are coming along, and with all the donations that have been sent from near and far, it looks like the library will be able to reopen on a limited basis next month with an amazing new collection of children’s books to replace those that were lost. They’re planning a grand re-opening for later this winter.

Thanks so much to ALL who have helped make that happen – from Sarah and Marc, to lemonade stand kids in Colorado, to publishers who boxed up books, to last night’s authors, artists, and earring-makers, and everyone who sent donations from near and far. You’re giving a community back its library, and I truly can’t imagine a better gift.