By KAREN BILLING
The Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild’s Book Store, also known as The Book Cellar, has moved around the corner and it is sporting a fresh new look. The bright new space still offers the same gently-used book steals, but it is the hope that it will be a more inviting space for patrons.
“We’re trying to bring Barnes & Noble to the Ranch,” said Sara Levy Buehner, who led the remodeling effort with co-chair Diana Ashton. “My vision is that people will come in and grab a chair.”
In addition to the two new striped, cozy, overstuffed chairs, rocking chair and table for stacking books while browsing, they also hope to serve coffee. Also coming soon will be a book nook in an area of the store that gets flooded with sunshine.
The new book store spot was formerly the Guild offices. The Guild was down to one employee who used the space three days a week and another who used it for one day a week. As a new member on the RSF Library Guild board, Levy Buehner thought that as it was such a nice room and being underused, why not use it for the book store?
An interior designer by trade, Levy Buehner devised a plan to maximize the spaces they have and make the set-up work better for everybody. The plan was passed by the board with one abstention from board president Art Yayanos.
The store was closed one week to complete the renovations, done on a “shoestring budget.” Four floating bookshelves were donated from upstairs and painted a crisp white. Old cabinetry was given a new look with a coat of white paint and the addition of crown molding along the top to make them look custom. The oversized chairs were donated by R. Roger Rowe’s Class of 2012.
In the children’s section of the store, shelves were given a splash of baby blue paint and decorative baskets hold some of the smaller books.
On a counter under a new row of wall-mounted shelves is where visitors will soon find coffee and can now find charming greeting cards made by Guild member Terry Weaver. She takes old book pages and makes them into cards, sold for $2 with all proceeds going back to the library.
As the Guild runs on hardworking volunteer manpower, the Guild office has now moved into the old sorting room.
The new sorting room is now double the size of what it used to be, in the old Cellar space. Now there’s plenty of room for the volunteers who come and root through donations.
“We get hundreds of books donated a week, it’s amazing,” Levy Buehner said.
And these aren’t ratty old books — they receive brand new hardcovers, some of them even signed by the author. Those books, barely opened once, retail at about $28 and sell in the store for $4. Some brand new hard covers, great beach reads for summer, are marked for as low as $2.
The most a book is priced for in the store is $5, save for some rare collectors’ books that are tucked into glass cases.
“It’s a nice little find here, we have things nobody else has, some real hidden gems,” Levy Buehner said.
All of the proceeds from the store go to support the Children’s Library upstairs. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are now able to accept credit cards for purchases over $10. For more information or to become a member of the Guild, visit rsflibraryguild.org or call (858) 756-4780. Address: 17040 Avenida De Acacias Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067.