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COVER STORY

THE

NEVERENDING STORY By Laura LaTour

In 1961, America was in love with TV Westerns, everyone was doing The Twist on dance floors, Audrey Hepburn popularized the little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Barbie met her boyfriend when Mattel launched its new Ken doll. Also in 1961, The Westport Friends started their own trend: The Westport Friends’ Annual Book Fair, now in its 58th continuous year and attracting book lovers throughout New England. Who are The Westport Friends? The Westport Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, or in short, the Quakers. The Meeting (or group of worshipers) has been around since before Westport was officially established as a town, and their Meetinghouse (the building structure in which they meet) was built just over three hundred years ago in 1716. “The Annual Book Fair raises about

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July 2019 | The South Coast Insider

thirty-two percent of our yearly operating costs,” says Greg Marsello, who took on the role of Book Fair Steering Committee Clerk over a decade ago. The money is allocated for property upkeep expenses, religious education, and a “Helping Fund” which supports in-need members of their community. In addition, the book fair gives back to the community by providing quality books at a very fair price. Most books

cost between one-to-five dollars. “A very significant percentage of the children’s books are bought by teachers, service organizations or charter school parents’ groups for school libraries,” says Gretchen Baker-Smith, Westport Friends’ Property Coordinator. “We usually get at least a couple sales of well over $100— which is a lot of books.”

What to expect at the Westport Book Fair Every year, the Westport Friends Book Fair features over 30,000 gently-used books for sale under three outdoor tents as well as “six books for a dollar paperbacks”, miscellaneous media, puzzles, and games for sale within the Meetinghouse and the Community House. The Friends start fresh each year collecting books and media in their Book Sorting Shed, at 938 Main Road in Westport. Members of the community can bring donations to the Book Sorting Shed any time, night or day. A sign reading “Donate Books Here” is posted on

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The South Coast Insider - July 2019  

IT'S THE ETERNAL PARADOX OF SUMMER that these long days should feel so short. Every hour is packed with things to do and places to go. It’s...

The South Coast Insider - July 2019  

IT'S THE ETERNAL PARADOX OF SUMMER that these long days should feel so short. Every hour is packed with things to do and places to go. It’s...