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You Never Know What You Will Find at the Scarsdale Library Book Sale

If you thought the printed book was a phenomenon of the past, rest assured it’s alive and well in Scarsdale. The Friends of the Scarsdale Library are currently collecting books for the 2010 Book Sale to be held September 11- 19 and they are busy sorting through piles of donated books. CD’s, DVD’s, vinyl records, sheet music and video games. According to Kathy Steves, Book Sale Chairman, the sale will feature a special section of new fiction, published in 2009 and 2010.

Sometimes the volunteers find more than just books. Earlier this summer, Ruth Kohn, President of the Friends of the Scarsdale Library found $500 inside one donated book, but she was able to find the rightful owner and returned the money. Another contributor called police in a panic when she thought she left thousands of dollars of jewelry concealed inside a jewelry box disguised as a fake book. The “book” was located by volunteers, but nothing was found inside.

In 2008, I found a wonderful note concealed inside a gardening book and wrote this entry about it:

I attended the book sale at the Scarsdale Library last week. It's a reader's paradise. You can find any novel that you haven't read...sometimes in the bargain basement price of just a $1.00 for a barely-touched hardcover copy. I couldn't help but marvel at the quality of the community's donations --- from Anne Tyler and Philip Roth to non-fiction contributions covering the most esoteric topics. A friend who's a collector told me that her husband picked up a first edition of a book for $60 and found it was valued at over $2,000. Only in Scarsdale!

But book browsing proved to be only half the fun. While nosing around the gardening section for a guide to perennials, I found a handwritten note underneath the books. Curious, I picked it up and found a gem.

On a small sheet of personalized notepaper, titled "Lisa", there was this short but telling missive from wife to husband. Here's how it read:

My King:

Before massage and after working out, a trip to the store would be much appreciated.

1) 4 FAT pieces of swordfish
2) Brussle sprouts (misspelled as shown)
3) wild rice or brown rice
4) lettuce, cucumber and (tomatoe for my parents)

Thank you - oh and capers in a jar - 2 jars ----

I love you.
Have a wonderful day.

The Queen

I quickly stowed the note between the covers of a novel I had selected, paid and left.

I realized that I had a sweet story in my hands. I thought of Ian McEwan, author of Saturday who crafted a novel based on the events of a single day. Just that morning in the Times I read a story of a girl who found a diary in a New York City dumpster and used it as the foundation of her first novel. Could this note be my inspiration?

Or perhaps it could simply be a thought-provoker in our household. After all, my weekend notes to my husband were often met with a comment such as "So you left me a list of what I need to do today?" No mention of royalty here - only complaints from the serfs who toil. On the other hand, my "to-do" lists were not as cleverly or lovingly drafted. Maybe I could learn a bit about coercion from my new muse.

I read and re-read the note. I noticed that the author, Lisa, seemed please that her husband, a.k.a. "the King" would enjoy his workout and massage. She reminded him that his trip to the store would be "much appreciated" and ended by conveying her love and wishing him a wonderful day. Signing the note, "The Queen" indicated that she too felt important to the King and the household. I envied these people. How they had elevated the mundane to the sublime!

At dinner that night, my husband was huddled over the newspaper, alternating glances at his new IPhone and MSNBC. Vying for a glance my way, I slipped the note under his nose and mentioned that I'd found it today. A few minutes passed without remark and my spirits plummeted. Wouldn't he react?

Finally I said, "Honey...did you read it?

Without missing a beat or should I say a beep from his IPhone, he answered, "Yes my Queen, what can I do for you?"

Bench Donated to Scarsdale Library

On Sunday, July 11 the Scarsdale Public Library hosted a small ceremony to dedicate its new bench, chair, and planter in honor of Dr. Howard Rapaport, Elizabeth Rapaport, and Lois Rapaport Shugar. The furniture set was a gift to the library from the Shugar and Rapaport families, and the ceremony was attended by family members and friends.

The Rapaport family has been present in Scarsdale since 1944, and from 1944 to 2005, seventeen Rapaports attended Scarsdale schools. Amy Shugar, Lois Rapaport Shugar’s daughter and Howard and Elizabeth Rapaport’s granddaughter, spoke at the ceremony about the library’s strong presence in her family’s life. She remembers the library as “a place where our mother used to bring us for the children’s readings, puppet shows, music and art classes, as our grandmother did for her.”

Amy Shugar first considered donating to the library following a conversation with Lois Rapaport Shugar. “When [we] lost our mother so suddenly last year, we knew this was the first thing that [we] wanted to do in her memory. She loved the library, loved Scarsdale, loved to read and shared everything with us,” said Shugar.

Library Director Beth Bermel thanked the families for their generous gift, which will be enjoyed by Scarsdale residents for many years, and noted that their donation reflects the important role the library exerts in the life of the community. The seating is located in the library’s courtyard for all to enjoy.

Pictured on Bench - Henriette and Thibaut Desmoures

Books Wanted

The Friends of the Greenburgh Library are now accepting donations for their annual sale that will take place October 1 through October 5. The group is seeking donations that include hardcover books (with dust jacket); paperback books, music CDs and DVDs. Donations can be dropped off in the vestibule of the Greenburgh Public Library, located at 300 Tarrytown Road, in Elmsford during normal Library hours beginning July 21.

All donations should be in very good condition. Encyclopedias, text books, magazines such as National Geographic, outdated computer books, cassettes and VHS movies will not be accepted. Make your donations now and then plan to attend one of the largest book sales in the area between October 1 and October 5. There will be a special “members only” evening at the sale on the Friday, October 1.

Applications for membership are accepted anytime and will also be accepted on the evening of October 1. Annual membership in the Friends of the Greenburgh Library costs $5.00 and applications are available online at or in the Library. Should you have questions about donations or about the book sale, please call (914) 761-4443 or email:

Kids Enjoy Summer Reading Game

According to a recent study by the Johns Hopkins’ Center for Summer Learning the average student loses approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in reading and math skills over the summer, But, here in Scarsdale more than 300 children are fighting this trend. They are participating in the Scarsdale Public Library’s annual Summer Reading Game and proving that one of the best ways to combat the loss is to keep reading year round.

“The program helps kids improve their school work, develop lifelong reading habits, and even awards prizes to participants in the process,” says children’s librarian Karen Zielinski.  Since the game commenced on June 25, 315 children have registered to play and 1,295 books have been read. The game’s players range from pre-readers, infants whose parents read to them, to sixth graders. “We expect even more to sign up,” Zielinski says. “In previous years, additional children join the game as the summer progresses.”  The game ends on August 14.  Last year, the program had 265 participants.

The Summer Reading Game is easily played by children at home or away for the summer. Students are encouraged to read whatever books interest them and can record their books as they are reading them, or all at once at their convenience.

Seven (soon to be eight) year old Brooke Paykian describes the game as “fun” and “easy.” She was pleased to find out that she could read her favorite mystery series, David Adler’s Cam Jansen, for the game. Another popular series being read by participants is The 39 Clues, an ongoing mystery series written by well-known children’s authors Rick Riordan, Gordon Korman, Peter Lerangis, Jude Watson, Patrick Carman, Linda Sue Park, and Margaret Peterson Haddix. Rick Riordan’s other series, the historically based Kane Chronicles and Lightening Thief, are also enjoying popularity among this year’s readers.

Children can still sign up for the game, either online (through a link on the library website, or at the library’s Children’s Desk. After registering, participants will receive a free Start-Up Kit, including fun activities, the rules and a reading journal.  Participants are eligible to win exciting prizes and a weekly ice cream raffle.

 Zielinski notes that playing the Summer Reading Game is a great way for kids to have fun, continue good reading practices and be ready when school starts.


Author Sonya Chung to Discuss Her Debut Novel

Author Sony Chung will lead a discussion about her new book, Long For This World at the Scarsdale Library on Monday evening June 28.  Chung teaches fiction writing at NYU and the Gotham Writer’s Workshop and this fall she will join the full-time faculty of Columbia University’s Creative Writing Program.  Her stories, reviews and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals and she was a nominee for the Pushcart Prize.  In Long for this World, published by Simon and Schuster, Chung tells the story of a family divided between contemporary America and a small Korean town.  To learn more about the book and see a video of Chung, click here:

Registration is required, so if you wish to attend please sign up at the reference desk at the Scarsdale Library.

 Here is a description of the book from Library Journal: The title of Chung's exquisite novel seems to be missing a word: "not long for this world" would be the easy, expected phrase. But little is easy or expected in this multilayered story of two brothers—one Korean and the other who chooses to become Korean American—and their scattered families, whose lives converge in a perfectly blended East/West house on a faraway Korean island. When Han Hyun-ku unexpectedly arrives at his younger brother's home, he is escaping an American life circumscribed by a detached wife and troubled son. His exhausted daughter, Jane, a renowned photojournalist of death and destruction, follows her missing father. Strangers that they are even among family, father and daughter are gratefully absorbed into a seemingly easy rhythm, but the temporary peace cannot ease inevitable tragedy. "Some people are not long for this world," Jane remarks. "The rest of us survive."

Sonya Chung
Scarsdale Public Library
Monday Night June 28th
7:00 – 8:30 PM