Next weekend (Saturday, Sept. 20), hundreds of avid bookworms will inch over to the Secaucus Public Library and Business Resource Center for the 2008 Mini-Fair and Book Sale, one of the largest community-wide events in town.
“We will have a lot of big events going on throughout the Mini-Fair, all of which are meant to encourage residents to come in to the library, see what we have to offer, and get involved in what we do,” said Director Katherine Steffens last week.
She estimated that between 1,500 to 2,000 people attend the fair each year.
Money raised from the annual event – now in its 11th year – benefits library programming, book purchases, and other needs and is organized by the Friends of the Library, a nonprofit group.
“All the money that Friends of the Library raises, including money from the Mini-Fair, supports cultural programming or any other function that the library asks them to get involved with,” Steffens explained. “Money raised from the Mini-Fair has supported concerts at the library, readings by authors. The money has been used to buy books, shelving. Friends of the Library bought us the baby grand piano that’s in the Panasonic Room on the second floor. A lot of the furnishings in the library were purchased through the Friends of the Library. So their fundraising goes a long, long way. They are a dynamic fundraising group. But last year, most of the funds went to the Children’s Reading Garden.”
The Children’s Reading Garden is currently a fundraising priority for Friends of the Library. Billed as “an alternate library site” for children and young adults, the reading garden is an enclosed outdoor space for youth-oriented programs. Although the garden is already open to the public, it isn’t yet complete, and Friends of the Library would like to add elements to the space that will make it more fun for kids.
The Friends, for example, plan to purchase a butterfly tower which will allow kids to see the stages of butterfly development up close.
Storytelling, baking contest…and Batman
Organizers of the Mini-Fair have packed the five-hour event with fun activities for all ages.
Up to 110 vendors will be on hand to sell baked goods and arts and crafts. And there will be a baking contest, with prizes awarded to the best desserts cooked up. Amusement rides will be available for the youngest fair-goers.
“And at high noon there will be storytelling. That’s always a big event,” said Steffens. “We have a professional storyteller come in who we’re really excited about.”
As if that weren’t enough, Batman will take time out of his busy schedule to cross the Hudson and drop in with his Batmobile. (Gotham City apparently can spare him for a few hours.)
“But the main activity of the day, of course, is the book sale,” reminded Steffens. “We sell gently-used books for $3 a bag. This helps us create space on our shelves so that we can keep our collection current.”
A few movies in DVD and VHS format will also be on sale.
Thousands raised last year
Last year the Mini-Fair and Book Sale brought in more than $10,600, a figure Steffens hopes to match this year.
The Fair Share Raffle, in which people buy $1 tickets in the hopes of winning a portion of the money pot, was especially lucrative last year, Steffens said. The 2007 Fair Share raised $3,000. (Half of the money raised from the Fair Share Raffle will be divided unequally among three winners.) An additional $790 was raised through book sales, she added, and the cake and coffee sale generated another $500.
Money from this year’s Mini-Fair will again be earmarked for the Children’s Reading Garden. In addition to the butterfly tower, the Friends of the Library plan to purchase some new seating and a sign for the outdoor venue.
“The kids have been out in the garden [recently] for ‘Library School.’ They just love it,” Steffens said. “And we just love it. We had a concert out there yesterday. We’re really using the garden. And we want to finish it this year.”
“So I hope everyone will come and support their library in some way because I think we give a lot back,” Steffens continued. “And besides, it’s a great day of fun for everybody – at the library.”
SIDEBAR What: Friends of the Library Mini-Fair and Book Sale. Used books will be sold for $3 a bag. There will also be food, readings, and prizes.
When: Saturday, Sept. 20
Where: Secaucus Public Library and Business Resource Center, 1379 Paterson Plank Rd.
Hours: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Rain date: Sun., Sept. 21, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Parking and transportation: There will be no on-site parking. Free shuttle service will be provided for seniors, adults, and children from Roosevelt Avenue, Front Street, Centre Avenue, County Avenue, and other sites around town. For a detailed bus schedule, call (201) 865-4422. For additional information about the Mini-Fair, call (201) 330-2083.
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