You have to love these inspirational organisations that are run solely to benefit those in need. The Annerley Community Bookshop is one such organisation and deserves all the recognition and support that the public can offer.
Initiated 10 years ago as an offshoot of a community literacy program, it is now spearheaded by a 6 member committee. Run by 50 odd rotating volunteers, one volunteer even travels a 4 hour round trip from Maleny once a week for her shift. The manager Paul Hodges is the only paid employee and works 3 days a week; I recently sat down with Paul to discover more about this store which has made such a valuable contribution to the community over the years.
Run purely on donations one of its primary aims is to make literacy available at an affordable price. The store stocks an incredibly diverse range of titles and genres, including some collectables which are listed on an international online database. There is a simple colour coded sticker pricing system with prices ranging from $5-$24 but the majority of books are $5 or $8. You can expect to pay a fraction of what you'd pay at a book retailer and less than half of what you might pay at another second hand bookstore. There is also a selection of CDs, DVDs and vinyl records.
At these deliberately low prices it is increasingly difficult to turn a profit so the bookshop focusses on stock contributions to the community. One of their current projects involves supplying books to institutions including 6 local prisons, in an effort to replenish stocks and boost literacy. They also offer stock and bookstore vouchers to a number of last chance, cash poor schools within the local catchment. If there is a profit at the end of financial year, the volunteers decide which charity will receive the donation.
The store itself is classic, light, airy, and a pleasure to browse through with wide aisles and easily identifiable categories. A gorgeous lounge area at the back of the store provides a cosy and comfortable place to more closely peruse the books that take your fancy. The store is also available to hire after hours (at a very low charity minded cost) and is currently used by local book clubs and both ethnic and activist groups.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for any second hand bookstore to make ends meet, let alone this one of a kind store that is absolutely reliant on donations and the generosity of the public. With the advent of electronic readers there is a concern that book donations and sales may soon dry up, but it's crucial that this store and its contributions to the community and literacy continue on. So next time you want to donate some books to charity, do the community a favour and bring them over to the Annerley Community Bookstore; you'll not only help to keep this speical store open but you'll make your own contribution to literacy.
Open six days a week (closed Sundays) from 9.30am - 5.00pm, the Annerley Community Bookshop is located 12/478 Ipswich Rd in the midst of Annerley's vintage/retro hub. Check out the website for more information or for online sales.