No contest: Love of books fuels library effort

One of the top fundraisers for the public library comes from an unlikely source &

a bookstore owner.

Judi Honor&

233;, co-owner of Shakespeare Books and Antiques has raised more than $5,000 for Friends of the Ashland Public Library and the Committee to Open Ashland Library since May. She wants to top $10,000 by the Sept. 18 election for the library levy.

"We maybe have been making less money, so more money is going to the library," she said. "We don't want to make more. It's not about that."


233; began her fundraising quest after a three-day sidewalk sale in May netted $403. She gave all the proceeds to the library, but she knew that wasn't enough to reopen the library.

She started asking everyone she met for a donation. When she bought lunch, she asked for money. When she bought running shoes, she got a donation. She got her real estate broker, builder, landscaper and even her CPA to contribute.

"I make sure that every day I get a donation," she said. "I wake up every morning and say 'Who can I get a donation from today?'"

In addition to collecting monetary donations, Honor&

233; collects books, which she sells at a discount and asks that the money customers would have spent on the books go into her donation jar. Honor&

233; estimates she spends four to six hours a day gathering donations of books and money.


233; traces her passion for libraries back to the book mobile that visited her one-room school house in Keokuk, Iowa. She first heard Uncle Tom's Cabin read aloud by her teacher every day after lunch.

"My family was really poor," she said. "We couldn't afford to buy books. We had to go to the library."

Former librarian and election co-chair Amy Blossom said a bookstore donating to the library was not as contradictory as it might seem.

"We send people to bookstores, and they send people to libraries," Blossom said.

In fact, Bloomsbury Books gave $500, one of the largest gifts, to Honor&

233;'s campaign.

"We don't think of this community as not having a library," said Bloomsbury clerk Christopher Johnson. "I guess people think bookstores must want libraries to close, but we think of ourselves as a member of the community."


233; doesn't plan to stop once the library has opened. She is already collecting donations for a November auction that will benefit Friends of the Library. Then she might find a new cause altogether &

"whatever I get passionate about," she said.

After a bit of consideration, she added, "I might take a week off."

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 227 or .

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