The Skidompha Secondhand Book Shop celebrated its 50th anniversary with a 1960s theme, in honor of the decade of its founding, Saturday, July 21.
Visitors to the shop were greeted with beautiful, sunny weather, half-off all books, and a green ’60s Volkswagen Westfalia to complete the theme.
Located on Backstreet Landing overlooking the Damariscotta River, the Skidompha Secondhand Book Shop is run solely by volunteers and features a 15,000-volume donated inventory.
Since its founding in 1968, the bookstore has been in three locations: the carriage house of the old Skidompha Library on Main Street, the red barn now home to Joe Lane Lobsterman on Elm Street, and the former restaurant on Backstreet Landing.
In each location, the shop has offered the community a place to find new books to read and support their local library.
“I love being around the books, but also the people who come in here. It’s an eccentric set of books and set of people,” said Rem Briggs, co-manager of Skidompha Secondhand Book Shop with Rosie Bensen.
More than 80 volunteers have taken up the cause of running the shop. The volunteers accept, price, and shelve donations that often number more than 500 books a day.
“People come to Damariscotta to visit (the shop). It’s made Damariscotta the destination,” said Janice Lindsay, a longtime volunteer in charge of publicity for the shop.
Lindsay said the move to the new location in 2017 offered not only more light and room to exhibit books, but also a more inviting space for visitors to read, work, and enjoy the view of the river. The shop’s revenue has doubled since the move from Elm Street.
Mary Wallace Smith started the Skidompha Secondhand Book Shop in 1968, after she decided the children’s area of the library was “uninviting and inadequate and decided to do something about it,” according to her daughter-in-law, Priscilla Smith, who spoke at the cake-cutting ceremony Saturday.
A plaque just inside the shop’s door honors Mary Wallace Smith.
“The bookshop exists because of the spirit of volunteerism in this community,” said Pam Gormley, executive director of Skidompha Library.
Gormley emphasized the importance of the revenue from the shop to the library and the ways in which community support helps the library fund educational, cultural, and creative endeavors.
The shop continues to grow and, according to Lindsay, has more first-time visitors and a wider range of clientele than ever before.
“People like their books to have a second life,” Bensen said.
The event was a success, with just under 1,000 volumes sold over the course of the day as visitors enjoyed volunteer-made food and drinks.
Skidompha Secondhand Book Shop thanked Colby & Gale Inc. for the use of the building, all its volunteers, and the community at large for supporting the mission of the shop and the library.
The shop is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.