Tag Archives: Westport Book Sales

Read All About It! The Library Book Sales

For over a decade, the Westport Library’s Summer Book Sale was a hot event.

For a few days, thousands of book, magazine, CD and vinyl lovers thronged an enormous tent on Jesup Green. Paying prices that decreased each day, they emerged with armfuls, boxfuls and (it seemed) semi-trailerfuls of stuff.

Early bird collectors — who resold what they bought at profits — jostled with readers of all ages: parents with young kids, teenagers, older folks who probably had 15,000 books already.

It was a great Library fundraiser.

The Westport Library book sale. (Photo/Dan Woog)

It also took a ton of work. Armies of volunteers were needed to set up the (expensive) tent, monitor the flow and collect the cash.

And the “hot” event was literally that. Everyone sweltered. (Jesup Green didn’t look so hot itself, once the tent was dismantled.)

COVID put an end to the Summer Book sale. It has not returned.

But used books are as hot as ever. And the Library has adapted in several ways.

Westport Book Shop — across Jesup Green from the Library — has established itself as a premier spot for used books. Open every day except Monday, it’s a lot less hectic (and cooler in summer) than the tent. Its mission to employ people with disabilities adds to its importance. 

The Westport Book Shop.

The Book Shop sells online now, and through eBay. (That adds a new element: shipping. Books are stored, and prepared for shipping, offsite near the Cottage restaurant.)

There are still “book sales.” They’re twice a year, in spring and fall — inside the Library. The next one is November 11-14.

Westport Library book sale.

Volunteers are still vital. And no one has worked harder, or longer, for the Library’s book sales than Mimi Greenlee.

For over 20 years, she’s helped them grow and evolve. Her current role is managing inventory for the store and the sales. She works inside a trailer outside the building, in the upper parking lot.

The Westport Library book sale donation trailer.

It’s quite an operation.

Donors bring piles of books. (Including dumping them outside when the doors are closed, which shouldn’t be done.)

Some people haul in hundreds of volumes.

Volunteers sort the donations into 60 categories. There are big ones (Fiction, Mysteries, History) and smaller (Military, Judaica).

Managers decide the most appropriate place for each: the store, or the sales. They price each volume too, using online tools.

Mimi Greenlee, surrounded by donations.

Not every donation is acceptable.

“People can’t throw away their own books,” Mimi says. “Unfortunately, some of them are moldy, from years in the garage or basement.”

Other books have broken spines or binding.

“Some people just don’t look at what they’re donating,” Mimi adds. “It happens a lot when they’re cleaning out a parent’s house, or moving quickly.”

The recycling bin comes in handy for those.

Even donations in good condition are not always acceptable. “We don’t take encyclopedias. Nobody wants them anymore,” Mimi explains.

Also unneeded: Magazines (“unless they’re very valuable”), VHS tapes, audio cassettes, and “outdated computer manuals.” Few textbooks make the grade.

Mimi wishes potential donors would ask: “Would I give this book to my grandmother?”

Because grandmothers — and grandfathers, moms, dads, kids, and everyone else in the area who can read — want used books.

But not the ones they’ve just thrown away.

(Volunteers are always needed — for sorting and other help, and at the book sales themselves. Email Mimi Greenlee for details: grmimi@aol.com)

(Like the Westport Library, “06880” relies on donations. Please click here to support this blog.)

Roundup: We The People, Roe Halper, Joe Biden …


“We the People” — Staples High School’s AP Government class, and the national competition of the same name — teaches students to research, analyze, synthesize and present important constitutional issues.

And it teaches them to think on their feet, and improvise.

A last-minute switch to a virtual format on Saturday did not faze Suzanne Kammerman’s 23 students. She commandeered the school library; a giant TV was set up; parents brought food, and team members set up in individual rooms with their laptops

The Westport teens’ knowledge of constitutional law was impressive (click here to see the depth and breadth of the questions). They finished second overall to traditional rival Trumbull, ahead of always-strong Greenwich.

Congratulations to all our constitutional scholars; to Kammerman, and the volunteers who helped prepare them for the event (and kept them fed)! (Hat tip: Lyn Hogan)

Like members of a (more academic) “Breakfast Club,” these 4 students did not know each other before the competition. But they finished with the top score of all 6 Staples “units,” and celebrated as friends afterward. Clockwise from lower left: Lilly Weisz, Sebatian Malino, Nikos Ninos, James Dobin-Smith.

Back row (left to right): Sebastian Malino, Nikos Ninos, James Dobin-Smith, Michael Brody, William Wang, Ishan Prasad, Zach Brody, Jackson Benner. Middle row:
Matthew Shackelford, Jet Tober, Scarlett Siegel, Clara Smith, Alex Laskin. Front row: Lilly Weisz, Spencer Yim, Rebecca Schussheim, Anna Diorio, Lucia Wang, Meredith Mulhern, Katharine Shackelford, Eva Simonte, Ryan Salik, Allison Gillman, teacher Suzanne Kammerman.


Good things come to good organizations.

Westport Book Sale Ventures — the nonprofit that operates the Westport Book Shop and Westport Library book sales — has just been awarded $10,000.

The money, from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, supports the group’s employment program for people with disabilities.

Both of Westport Book Sale Ventures’ ventures employ residents with physical and emotional disabilities, in a variety of roles.


For more than 60 years, Roe Halper has been a noted Westport artist. She’s still active.

Of course, her work has evolved greatly over the years. This Thursday (February 10, 7 p.m., Westport Library Trefz Forum) she’ll discuss exactly how. Her talk is part of her current exhibit “Orange,” on view in the Sheffer Gallery through March 6.

Her presentation should be fascinating — and “illustrative.” To learn more about Halper, click here.

Roe Halper, at her exhibit.


Drivers coming off Merritt Parkway Exit 42 from the west see signs pointing them to Westport or Weston.

That’s it — no “Welcome to Westport!” or other warm, fuzzy greetings.

Except for this new sign, hung recently a few yards away on the Weston Road curve near Main Street:

(Photo/Debbie Silver)


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image is classic mid-winter Westport. If you haven’t been to Sherwood Island recently, you’re missing out on beauty — and solitude.

(Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)


And finally … drummer Sam Lay died recently in Chicago. He was 86.

The New York Times cited his “exuberant, idiosyncratic drumming … known for its double-shuffle groove.”

Lay played with Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. He backed Bob Dylan, when the folk singer went electric at Newport in 1965.

And — most importantly for “06880” — he was a founding member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. The keyboardist was current Westport resident Mark Naftalin.

The Times says they were “racially integrated, a rarity at the time, and bought the blues to a white audience during an intense period in the civil rights movement.”

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. Lay is also in the Blues Hall of Fame. (Click here for the full Times obituary.)



Unsung Heroes #204

Longtime Westport Library book sales volunteer Mimi Greenlee writes:

Our community is so happy now that the Westport Library is accepting book donations in the gray trailer in the upper parking lot (during library hours).

The first weeks were overwhelming. I want to give a round of applause for our volunteer team of 50 sorters and category managers.

By singling out one person, I hope “06880” readers see how much devotion and dedication is present in every one of our year-round volunteers.

Dan Delehanty was Westport’s town engineer from 1978 to 2008. In 2001 he became a volunteer for our Book Sales. He transported books and supplies from storage to our sales, sorted donated books, and was always available for any other jobs needed for Friends of the Library and the Library staff.

Dan Delehanty shows off his work. Note the time on the clock: 6 a.m. (Photo/Fred Caporizzo)

He loved putting on music and sorting books, usually in the very early morning or late at night. I was always amazed at what he had accomplished, and with such efficiency.

Dan moved to Maine in 2020 to be with family, yet this spring he came back to visit. Longtime friend and co-worker Fred Caporizzo suggested Dan come help in the Book Center for “nostalgia” reasons. That’s exactly what he did.

The 2 men were there at 6 a.m., sorting books for our Book Shop and the next book sale.  How about a round of applause for them — and everyone else on our team!

(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Email dwoog@optonline.net)

Move Over, Barnes & Noble. Another Bookstore Is Opening Downtown.

It’s been years since downtown Westport had a bookstore.

Next month, Barnes & Noble opens in the former Restoration Hardware.

This Thursday, a second bookstore opens right around the corner.

It’s smaller. It will sell only used books. But its story is huge.

The Westport Book Shop is a partnership between the Westport Library and Westport Book Sales, the non-profit with 2 important missions: They raise funds for the library by running its book sales, and they hire adults with disabilities.

For nearly 3 decades, the Summer Book Sale has been a beloved ritual on Jesup Green. So it’s fitting that the Westport Book Shop will be located between Green & Tonic and the new Basso restaurant (formerly Matsu Sushi).

In other words: It’s directly across Jesup Green from the library.

The new home of the Westport Book Shop.

The new venture — believed to be Westport’s first-ever used bookstore — came together quickly. The idea began in the spring, but the right space — a former art gallery — was not available until last month. Final town approval came on Friday.

The 5,000 or so books, in over 40 categories, come from donations to the annual book sales. There’s also a large selection of vinyl records, audio books, CDs and DVDs.

(In addition to the ginormous summer one, there are other book sales throughout the year. However, they’re on hold during COVID.)

The view from inside the Westport Book Shop, across Jesup Green to the library.

Books cover all major categories: fiction, non-fiction, biography, children’s, you name it.

“We’ll be talking to customers and ask what they especially want,” says Mimi Greenlee. The longtime volunteer will continue to work with Westport Book Sales on this project, with fellow members Jocelyn Barandiaran, Linda Hopper, Dick Lowenstein, Sharuna Mahesh and Deb Poulley​. Jennifer Bangser is the Library’s liaison.

The Book Shop also features the Drew Friedman Art Place. Miggs Burroughs will curate rotating exhibits of area artists.

Hours are Thursdays and Fridays, 3 to 6 p.m.; weekends, noon to 5 p.m. COVID restrictions apply.

Mimi Greenlee inspects a book n the children’s section.

Founding donors include The Drew Friedman Community Arts Center, Eileen Lavigne Flug, Dan Levinson, Jeffrey Mayer and Nancy Diamond, Jocelyn and Walter Barandiaran, Linda Monteiro-Hopper and Scott Hopper, Robin and Brad Berggren, Rebecca L. Ciota, The Kail Family, The Michael M. Wiseman and Helen A. Garten Charitable Foundation, Abilis Community Foundation, The Betty R. and Ralph Sheffer Foundation, Craig Rebecca Schiavone, Westport Sunrise Rotary, Rita Allen Foundation, and Berchem Moses PC. Local law firm Verrill donated most of the bookcases.

For more information, email info@westportbooksales.org.

Roundup: Staples High School, Book Sales, Eversource, Landmark Preschool, More

“06880” seldom reports “survey” results. Best Nail Salon in Fairfield County, Greatest Towns for Beach Strolling — those stories land in my inbox every day. Clickbait, all of them.

But I’ll make an exception for this one. It comes from a legit source — and it involves one of our town jewels.

USA Today just published a list of the best public high school in every state. Criteria included student and parent survey responses, teacher absenteeism, standardized test scores, and other measures of academic performance.

The Connecticut representative — complete with a handsome photo — is Staples.

Congratulations to all. At a time of so much educational uncertainty, it’s great to get even a glimmer of good news.

Staples High School. (Photo/Jennifer Kobetitsch)

The Westport Library Book Sale lost its spring and summer dates. But they sold “book bundles” online — and that encouraged them to open an online book store.
that it has opened an online book store.

They’re opening with a curated selection of “Surprise Book Bundles”: used books and CDs in various categories, for adults and children. More categories and items will be added soon. Click here to “enter” the store.

Purchases are available for pickup, by appointment, within 7 to 10 days after purchase, at the library’s upper parking lot.

The Westport Library Book Sale is operated by Westport Book Sale Ventures, a
nonprofit enterprise that supports the library, while providing employment for adults with disabilities.

During Tropical Storm Isaias, Frank Accardi got tired of seeing this message:

“OUTAGE UPDATE: Eversource crews are working hard to safely restore power as quickly as possible. While we always provide the best information possible, sometimes we may need additional time to provide our estimated times of restoration.”

He suggests this replacement, for customers to send after receiving their next bill:

“PAYMENT UPDATE: Westport families are working hard to safely restore solvency as quickly as possible. While we always provide the best information possible, sometimes we may need additional time to provide our estimated time of financial recompense to Eversource.”

Landmark Preschool in Westport reports that 23 new students have enrolled since June. While the school on Burr Road provides in-classroom learning, it also provides “parallel remote learning” from home, via classroom cameras and monitors.

Students will stay in small cohorts; hand washing will be increased, and ventilation improved; there will be additional cleaning crews and disinfecting foggers; faculty and staff will be given special training, and every teacher will be provided a special COVID sanitation kit, and clear face masks so youngsters will not miss visual cues.

And finally … folk/Latin/rockabilly singer Trini Lopez died this week, from complications of COVID-19. He was 83.