Delayed but not defeated, an Alexandria, Virginia, bookstore will continue collecting donated books for a summer reading program after Monday’s floods ruined hundreds that already had been gathered.
“We collected 338 books for children at the Campagna Center in Alexandria for summer reading,” said Ellen Klein, owner of Hooray for Books on King Street. “It was our Scholastic Summer Read-A-Palooza collection.”
Sadly, the books might have survived Monday’s flooding if they had been picked up as scheduled from the store on Sunday. But they weren’t.
“They were all in cartons in our storeroom,” Klein said. “The cartons of books got soaked.”
So now, the summer reading program collection effort presses on, assisted by some of the store’s loyal customers.
“We already have customers who are getting book drives going. We have customers who’ve said they’ll volunteer their time. I’m sure we’re going to need that help when we put things back where they belong. We had to move everything for the remediation,” Klein said.
One customer called saying she can’t wait until the store, her “happy place,” is back up and running, Klein said.
“Hearing that just gives me goosebumps that people are so kind and thoughtful,” she said.
Even though the ruined books were donated, their loss comes at a cost to the store, which offered a 15% discount on new books that were purchased to be donated to the Campagna Center.
“When I give a 15% discount on donations or a 20% discount to schools, that’s cutting into what little profit I would have made,” Klein said, explaining that books are printed with prices attached and that publishers offer only slim discounts on the cost to stores.
Repairs to the store could take until next week, and while Hooray for Books hires some high school students living with their parents, Klein is concerned about the four adult staffers who are hourly wage workers and will be without pay. She intends to hold some kind of fundraiser for them.
“Something fun, creative — maybe a trivia night,” Klein said.
When the store reopens, books that are purchased to be donated to the Campagna Center will get a 15% discount. People also can drop off gently used children’s books for the summer reading program and other programs, Klein said.
“We also donate to the local schools and the shelters, and wherever people could use them,” she said.