When times get tough, it’s time to hit the books.
And a number of county residents have done just that, making a monthly book swap an increasingly popular event.
The fourth anniversary of the Nevada County book swap will take place Sunday in the back warehouse of Scooter’s Place at 139 Joerschke Drive in Grass Valley.
The event takes place the first Sunday of the month, even during the holidays, and offers a platform for people to bring in books, magazines, CDs and DVDs and take away materials of interest as well.
Originally, the swap was an idea founder Cheryl Noble had as a way to bring the community together and share goods without having to spend any money.
“I started it because I was terrified because of what was happening with the economy,” Noble said. “I wondered how we were going to survive without being able to get the things we like in life and get around without using money and thought the book swap was a good idea.”
The swap’s inception four years ago began with a rainy day, a few tables and volunteers and had a surprising turnout that has remained consistent, Noble said.
“There was just an eagerness, openness and receptiveness to the community that they were feeling it, too,” Noble said.
Part of the popularity of the event can be attributed to a shift toward more community involvement.
“A lot has changed with people’s view on community,” Noble said. “There’s been a shift, a little bit, with people’s beliefs with community and to be more community-minded.”
Nevada City resident Suzie Daggett has attended the book swap from the very beginning.
“It’s an incredible offering Cheryl has made to the community, and it’s really fun to see what you’ll find,” Daggett said. “I usually take my mom, who is 87, and she goes with a giant bag of books and comes home with an even bigger bag of books. I see a lot of people I know there, and people are always looking for an interesting read and can find it. You just don’t know what’s going to be there. It’s a wonderful treasure hunt.”
Another benefit is the ability for people to reuse rather than shop for new things and to share their experiences, Noble said.
“Swapping is the new shopping,” Noble said. “There’s been a heightened awareness and advocacy for re-purposing and recycling and also a way of life that this is what we should be doing with our things. We should be sharing with one another things we don’t need that somebody else can enjoy.”
The preparation for the swap is challenging, Noble said, as the warehouse where the event takes place is a shared location with Scooters Pals and Bitney College Prep, and each week, all the materials need to be packed up and moved elsewhere.
“It’s very tedious. It’s moving books one day a month, and you know how heavy books can be,” Noble said. “We have a lot of good help, but we would love it if someone would have a warehouse to donate so we could just keep the books there and not have to box everything up every time.” Noble said the turnout includes a wide variety of locals.
“People from all walks of our community come, and it’s free,” she said. “It’s very social. People love talking about books there.”
The materials donated for the book swap are not only for those who attend the event but are also donated to local nonprofits, some of which include Scooters Pals, Sammie’s Friends and senior centers.
“We get an abundance of donations and then take a lot of those donations and pass them onto the nonprofits, which take and sell them for their fundraising efforts,” Noble said. “Who knew what a service it would evolve into after four years?”
Anyone interested in volunteering or offering a space for the book swap can contact Cheryl Noble at 530-615-4155.
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.