Find the nook for books and vinyl, too
Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 2:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 2:24 p.m.
Needle music freaks and book lovers take heart.
You still can find hard-copy books and vinyl discs at the Habitat Bookworms Media Center.
The music and reading haven is surrounded by doors, sinks, building materials, appliances and furniture at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore at 2317 SW 13th St. in Gainesville.
The showroom was started by employee Harold Baranoff, who said an 8-foot folding table piled with dusty, disorganized books and records and called the "book section" was not a viable money maker for the store. He envisioned a "store within a store," which, with the help of many employees and volunteers, has evolved into the 1,000-square-foot media center and book nook.
Darlene Thompson, 62, and her husband Timothy, 66, of Silver Springs, stopped in recently while in Gainesville for a medical appointment.
"This is relaxing and enjoyable; it's like a walk down memory lane," Darlene Thompson said. "Here's an album by Dan Fogerty and one by Dan Fogelberg. I just saw one by Bobby Vinton and Engelbert Humperdinck. And there's something about album cover art, it's so pretty."
The media center is managed by Baranoff and co-worker Carol Dougherty. The record store area gives the feel of a vintage shop, with an arch trimmed in vinyl records, a working turntable, a mini jukebox and touches like a wall poster from a 1960s magazine with "step by step" instructions on how to do The Twist. The area includes hundreds, maybe thousands, of LPs, and 78 rpm and 45 rpm vinyl platters, most sold for $1 each.
Adjacent to the record shop is the book center, with professional displays and racks holding hundreds of titles. Baranoff pointed out "Sword and Trowel," dated 1875, as one of several antique volumes displayed.
Dougherty first spent hours as a volunteer, and now as an employee, sorting and arranging the books.
"We have books covering psychology, sociology and wellness. We also have many textbooks and University of Florida students come in to shop," she said. "I like the community aspect. We have an area for children to sit and people can gather and enjoy."
Baranoff said the slogan for Habitat Bookworms is "building community one book at a time."
"Habitat for Humanity builds houses, and our books can make it a home," he said.
Baranoff said the store gets books weekly from the Friends of the Library, and that professional shelving was donated by Borders and Barnes & Noble when the local stores closed. Books, Inc., which closed when the owner retired, also made contributions.
"We get families giving us (estate) items. We recently had a lady bring in her late husband's record collection. He was a high school band leader and minister," Dougherty said.
Albums in the center recently included Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Vikki Carr, Harry Belafonte, Barry Manilow, Carol King and Neil Diamond, and comedy albums such as "First Family," a good-natured takeoff on the family of former President John F. Kennedy.
"I like swing music but I'm developing a taste for opera," Baranoff said.
"Hip-hop music caused a resurgence in needles and records because they needed a turntable to scratch the record," Baranoff added.
Hundreds of 45 rpm records are stacked in crates, such as "The Battle of New Orleans" by Johnny Horton. A 25-year anniversary framed special edition of "It's Now or Never" by Elvis Presley is in a special part of the collection.
Store retail director Derek Easton said the media center benefits the organization's mission "to end poverty housing in Alachua County and throughout the world." He said purchases at the Habitat Bookworms section "produced enough income in 2013 to build a house locally."
The rest of the store realized sufficient proceeds from sales of donated materials to build two houses in 2013, he added.
Baranoff said the center also supports the African Library Project and a Books for Prisoners program.
Marion County Habitat for Humanity also has a ReStore, at 926 NW 27th Ave., Ocala. The organization's current priorities are Project Patriot, focusing on the housing needs of more than 50,000 veterans in Marion County, and Combat Veterans to Careers, to provide support for combat veterans and their families.
Andy Fillmore is a Gainesville Sun correspondent.