Wednesday, May 11th, 2011
By William Kincaid
Book nook closing
City taking building that houses 5,000 books for sale by sorority
CELINA - The Alpha Delta Kappa book sale this week may be the sorority's last, as the city intends to remove its building at Mercelina Park.
Sorority members of the Celina chapter say a city employee told them in February that the building, dubbed the book nook, must be abandoned by June because the city intends to make improvements to the park. The building houses 5,000 books, they say.
The sorority accepts donated books and then sells them at an affordable price. The sales are the sorority's primary fundraiser, and all proceeds go toward local scholarships and donations to several area organizations, member Peggy Sheaks said.
The women say city officials have not offered an alternative location for the building located on the park's southwest corner. The sorority of current and former educators has sold books out of the structure since purchasing it from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla in 1981.
Member Jackie Springer said it's sad to think about the book nook being gone. She fears the group could disband if they stop selling books.
Some members said they would have liked an official correspondence from the city about their deadline instead of hearing it from a city employee. Sheaks added they should have been given a decent timeframe to remove the books.
Sheaks also said no city official has discussed compensation with the sorority for the building as well as thousands of dollars invested in bookshelves.
In addition to helping charities, the book nook also has promoted reading and helped elementary teachers provide books to their students, the women said.
Mayor Sharon LaRue said the group was notified through a city employee.
"We had asked them if they could move out of there because we were going to expand some of the park activities," LaRue said, confirming no alternative city location was found.
Sheaks also brought up the topic at this week's city council meeting.
She said according to sorority minutes from 1981, the women wanted the city to give the sorority a year's notice if they had to leave the book nook. Former city safety service director Tom Schwartz agreed to six months in a letter, but Sheaks said she could not find the letter.
Celina Planning and Community Development Director Kent Bryan said a city employee was told to inform the sorority three years ago that the building would be in the way of development. Bryan said he probably should have put it in writing.
Sometimes a letter can appear cold-hearted, Bryan said, adding the city tried a one-on-one approach.
Bryan said a skateboard park could be built in the area. He also said parking and lighting improvements are planned.
Councilman Mike Sovinski said there's no pressing issues and suggested a letter be drafted to the sorority to officially let them know the city's plans.
Alpha Delta Kappa will hold what may be its final book sale 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the book nook, located off Lakeshore Drive at Mercelina Park.
Donations will be accepted for all books. Also, book cases and shelves, aluminum roof and siding will be sold to the highest bidder.
All proceeds will be used to support local charities and provide book scholarships for students studying teacher education at Wright State University-Lake Campus.
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