July 17, 2018
Books Revisited, the all-volunteer, library-sustaining bookstore of Alamogordo, New Mexico, is back in business!
by Gaia Steinfeld DeNisi
Alamogordo, New Mexico has recently been graced with the reopening of Books Revisited — the town’s only general-interest book store, making a new home for itself at the local White Sands Mall. Nicole Maxwell covered the story for the Alamogordo Daily News.
The store, which is completely donation-stocked and volunteer-staffed, is affiliated with the Alamogordo Public Library Foundation (APLF), a nonprofit that was founded in 2004 to raise funds for the Alamogordo Public Library. According to Books Revisited’s website, APLF was founded in order “to provide funds for library capital improvements not funded by the city of Alamogordo, promote library programs and cultural events and to plan for eventual library expansion.” The store donates all profits to the library, and, like many volunteer-powered initiatives, is always in need of more volunteers.
Books Revisited began as a book sale hosted by the Alamogordo Public Library twice per year in an old IGA supermarket. In 2014, the IGA was replaced with a new Albertsons, and the bookstore moved to the Mall. After a while occupying two locations, it closed briefly in order to move from one location to the other. In its new location, the store carries books on a wide variety of subjects, both fiction and nonfiction, as well as toys, games, greeting cards, CDs, VHS and DVDs. All materials are gently used and extremely reasonably priced. Most items are priced between 25¢ and $3.
Manager Debbie Phoenix started off as a cashier and then a sorter. “We’ve only been reopened here for a little over two weeks,” Phoenix said. “We’re the only book store in town.”
“All the books are by donation, we don’t buy books. That’s how we keep the prices down.”
Books Revisited is offering two-pronged literary support in Alamogordo, by both providing the town’s only general interest bookstore and supporting the local public library. State funding is enough to cover regular operating expenses but does not provide any support for new projects, renovations, or expansions. The bookstore has contributed to numerous recent projects, including the purchase of computer carrels, a movie license, various book acquisitions, and hundreds of dollars towards the Children’s Summer Reading Program.
The library, which is a major cultural attraction in Alamogordo, receives around 200,000 visitors each year. APLF feels it is an important community hub, particularly as a space for children and adolescents.
A 2003 study by Fordham University ranks New Mexico last in the US for overall social health. This ranking is based on a diverse range of factors such as murder rate, high school graduation rate, teenage drug abuse, and poverty levels, among others. According to the Books Revisited website, APLF believes that, although public libraries cannot solve all these issues by themselves, they play a crucial role by providing a space and resource for children, teens, and young adults. Hopefully, by supporting the Alamogordo Public Library, Books Revisited will continue to cultivate a love of reading and education within its community.
Gaia Steinfeld DeNisi is an intern at Melville House.