BELEN — The written word is very powerful, and a store full of books filled with words of fiction, romance, adventure and more is just around the corner at Books on Becker.
The second-hand bookstore, located at 513 Becker Ave. in Belen, is run by the Friends of the Library, the nonprofit organization which supports the Belen Public Library.
Books on Becker is open from 1-4, Tuesdays-Fridays, and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.
The bookstore, which had its grand opening and ribbon-cutting celebration on Aug. 4, is filled with books for children, young adults and adults, with everything to read from Dr. Seuss to James Patterson.
Dorie Corrao, manager of Books on Becker and vice president of the Friends of the Library, said the organization decided to open the second-hand bookstore because the monthly book sale at the library became too much to handle for the volunteers.
“We would have to drag out books and put them away when they wouldn’t sell,” Corrao said of the monthly sale. “We would have to get people to set them up, take them down and man the book sale.
“And, we’re all oldish,” quipped Cheryl Estill, president of the Friends of the Library.
With not a lot of members, the Friends of the Library were looking for another solution. The idea of Books on Becker was that of former librarian Julie Sanchez.
“Julie initiated the idea for the bookstore,” Estill said. “She didn’t get a lot of enthusiasm but she went ahead with it and I’m so glad she did. We all caught the vision she had.
“She went to the city council and secured the building for us, and Mayor (Jerah) Cordova and the council have been very supportive of us.”
The city of Belen is providing the building at no cost to the bookstore because it’s essentially a branch of the public library.
Corrao said most of the profits from Books on Becker help support library programs, such as the children’s reading program, the summer reading program and the teen lab.
“If there’s something that the library needs, and it isn’t in their budget, they will come to the Friends of the Library and ask for the money,” she said.
With the new bookstore, the Friends have enough space to store books before placing them on the shelves for customers. They are still looking for donations of shelving for more books.
Estill said the community has been very generous over the years, donating an abundance of books to the Friends of the Library. She said the grand opening was wonderful because there was a sense of community.
“That’s what we want to encourage here,” Corrao said. “We want people to come in, pick a book off the shelf, sit and look through it before they decide if they want to buy it.
“We want people to be able to find that sense of community here, and enjoy visiting and talking with one another. We want this to be a community gathering place.”
The cost of the books is very minimal, with $3 for a bag of books or 10 cents for each paperback. Some of the specialty coffee-table type books are $2 each.
Children and teachers can also take a bag of books from Books on Becker for free.
“The philosophy is to get the books in the hands of readers,” Corrao said. “And if we can get some money doing it, that’s good.”
Estill said if they see someone who is obviously on a tight budget, they’ll give them a free book as well.
Any donations are appreciated, and can be dropped off at Books on Becker. If you’re able to help, email email@example.com.