by Stephanie Byrd
For about the past month, SBTHP’s weekend interpreters have taken on a new role: used book providers. Each weekend at El Presidio SHP, we put out a display of used books along with our craft table, so now there’s a stopping point for both kids and adults! Before, the used book sale was a mainstay of larger events like Presidio Past Times and Veteran’s Day, but why not give our weekend guests the chance to find a true treasure? All the books have been donated to SBTHP, meaning all proceeds go directly to support the Presidio Research Center’s fund to acquire new books for the collection.
The book stock itself changes from weekend to weekend, and even from day to day, based on new donations and the fact that SBTHP has a portion of the Old Research Center dedicated to the sorting of used books. Two weeks ago, I spent the day sorting books into boxes based on their prices, so it’s really easy for us to set up the table with new boxes each day and give visitors a fresh stock each day.
We have three price levels: $1 for mass market paperbacks, $3 for trade paperbacks, and $5 for hardcovers. There’s a rather large assortment of Michael Jecks’ medieval murder mysteries, interesting memoirs and biographies from people like John Glenn and Georgia O’Keefe, and travel books that range from Rome to Alaska.
The most challenging aspect for me has been to stop buying books every weekend because I always find something new that I’d love to read. The first weekend, I found Mike Davis’ City of Quartz and a book of the Minneapolis Mill District for a friend who happens to be moving to Minneapolis, the next weekend a coffee table book of the world’s best golf courses for my dad. There’s always something of interest on the table, so come take a look! Plus, on these cold dark winter days, what better way to pass the time then with a great new book?
Also, don’t forget to check out the additional new and used books for sale inside the Presidio Visitor Center. The books inside focus on California history, sorted out of the pack, so if visitors have a particular area of interest, SBTHP is here to help!
Stephanie Byrd is the weekend supervisor at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.