by Kurtis Kelly, Communications Specialist
In the two years since Cliffhanger Used Books opened next to the Post Office, the store has become a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. Maybe it’s the purple and gray exterior that catches people’s eyes. Maybe it’s the iconic logo with a reading rock climber. Maybe it’s the interior, with cozy nooks of bookshelf genres with the feel of a welcoming home.
During this month of Library Love, we’re recognizing the contributions of donors and volunteers in sustaining and growing the services of the local library, all for the greater benefit of our mountain village. Cliffhanger’s double entryways are portals through which that generosity takes form.
Cliffhanger is operated by the Library Friends & Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit raising funds to support the Library’s strategic goals, aligned with identified community needs. Sarah Walsh, Development Director for the Friends & Foundation, explains how Cliffhanger has become an essential part of that process.
How did Cliffhanger Used Books come about?
“In 2018, the Friends & Foundation faced a turning point. After 25 years of holding Book Sale fundraisers, circumstances left us without a venue or sustainable offsite storage. We carefully studied multiple options, including the end of used book sales altogether. Then the opportunity came along to acquire a permanent retail site. Now all the book donations, sorting, and sales occur in one happy place—year-round.”
Who runs the store?
“It’s been a labor of love by volunteers from the get-go. Volunteers did the work to transform the building into a bookstore, painting walls and removing old carpet.
Volunteers sort and organize all the donations. Volunteers staff the front counter, allowing the store to be open 6 days a week. Our teen volunteers have been great helpers too. We welcome new volunteers.”
What can shoppers expect?
“Inside the store are thousands of used books, DVDs, CDs—even sheet music—all sorted in genre categories for easy browsing. It’s a treasure trove for book lovers and bargain hunters. There’s the satisfaction that every purchase helps the library.”
Do you take used book donations?
“We sure do. People are delighted to know their gently-used books will find happy new homes, and strengthen the library in the process.” [Here is a helpful guide to what materials are accepted].
What’s on the second level?
“Above the store are three residential apartments, and that’s another way we support the Library. Like many employers, the Library has a need for workforce housing to attract and retain their skilled professionals. The apartments offer housing opportunities prioritized for Library staff, at regular rental rates, then to the general public when available. Rental income covers the mortgage, allowing the store’s proceeds to go directly to the library.”
Cliffhanger Used Books is one of many ways that Library Love multiplies community-wide, with proceeds funding projects like Grab-and-Go Storytime Kits and One Book One Valley events. Have you visited Cliffhanger lately? If not, February is a great time. Coffee Table books and Romance books are on sale: $2 hardcover and $1 paperback, plus tax.