Two thousand library supporters turned out last Saturday to support the 11th Annual Mini-Fair and Book Sale, a yearly fundraising event that benefits the Secaucus Public Library and Business Resource Center.
Thanks to these supporters the library raised an impressive $13,353 – a $2,753 boost over last year’s total.
“We really appreciate all the support we received,” said Director Katherine Steffens. “We did very well and because of what we raised we’ll be able to complete the Children’s Reading Garden and add to our cultural events next year.”
The annual fundraiser is organized by Friends of the Library, a nonprofit group formed to support the library’s mission.
Money raised from the Mini-Fair and Book sale typically benefits programming, book purchases, and other library needs. For the past two years, however, proceeds from the sale have primarily benefitted the Children’s Reading Garden.
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.
“Because we did so well with the Mini-Fair, we’ll be able to do that and more. So we’re very lucky,” Steffens said.
‘Trash’ and treasure
The money raised from the event came from several sources; raffles ticket sales, rented vendor tables, and of course the featured book sale.
Steffens explained in an interview two weeks ago that the library sells off some of its older “gently-used” books so that the staff can create shelf space for newer work. This, she explained, helps the library keep its collection up-to-date.
Naturally, the library’s “trash” can be some reader’s treasure, as several book-buyers discovered.
“I picked up an assortment of books, mainly adventure novels,” said Secaucus resident Richard Cornelius. “Temple by Matthew Reilly, Between Time and Terror by Robert Weinberg, Stefan Dziemianowicz, and Martin H. Greenberg is another one I found. These are like historical novels. Here’s another, [William] Johnstone’s Remember the Alamo,” Coneilus said, pointing to another find. “I just got a dog, so I thought it would be a good idea to get this one, Earl Mindell’s Nutrition and Health for Dogs. I missed the Mini-Fair last year. But now I see that I can get a lot of books that I like. And when I’m finished with them I give them to someone else. So it’s fun.”
Thrifty book-buyers paid $3 for an empty bag and were free to walk away with whatever books could fit into that bag.
“I got a large conglomeration of everything from law, murder, love, history,” said Anna Schwarz, another resident and avid reader. “I always come here and support the library. This is a beautiful library that we have here. It’s a fabulous resource center and I use it a lot.”
Raffle winners announced
Despite food, great weather, and fun, the day didn’t come without a few disappointments.
The Mini-Fair and Book Sale featured several raffles and competitions that produced both winners and losers.
In the baking contest Glenda Grandioso won for her Sweetheart Chocolate Cheesecake; Helen Gasiewski won for her carrot cake; Caroline Scheiner won for her crumb cake; Caroline Popolizio won for her chocolate peanut butter cupcakes with milk chocolate icing; and Devanski Parikh won in the cookies/bars category.
S. Rajani walked away with the overall baking grand prize for her chocolate cake.
Perhaps the most anticipated competition of the day was the Fair Share Raffle, in which the library split a cash prize with three lucky winners. Garfield resident Marylene Carassquel won the Fair Share grand prize of $1,445 while Secaucus resident Marie Walker won the $867 second prize. Renee Cuchione, director of Dance Power Studio in Secaucus, took home the $578 third prize.
But with hundreds of tickets sold for the Fair Share and other raffles, there were more than a few groans each time a winner was announced. “My grandkids were unhappy that they didn’t win anything,” Steffens said. “They were hoping to win the Giants tickets. But the tickets were donated by my husband, so they can go anytime. I told my grandkids the money [from their tickets] went to a good cause.”