SANTA is in town! Not the tubby Christmas Claus, but the much-loved second-hand bookshop whose takings make a major contribution to the monthly salaries of eight TB care workers helping in the fight against TB (tuberculosis) in the Overstrand community.

A number of book-loving volunteers take their turn to staff the cottage shop in Aberdeen Street, opposite the Hospice Shop and next door to Red Cross. They spend a few hours in shifts from around 09:00 to 16:30pm on weekdays, until 13:00 on Saturdays, and on most public holidays as well.

Santa Claus (ie the head honcho) is Bob Hill, not as plump as he’s depicted in pictures but an enthusiastic and indefatigable co-ordinator, full of goodwill and knowledge of books. The shop was purpose-built in 2016 when the United Church’s little cottages in Royal Street were required for other needs. At the time, the move meant a huge load of work for Sue Holmes, chair of SANTA, and many others; now the crisp new premises are seen as a blessing, as books are more accessible and better presented and sales are well up.

Arranged in alpha order (mostly) and by genre, the books await your keen eye. Scanning the shelves reveals sections for Novels, Thrillers, Romance, Classics, Biographies, Sport, Literature, Africana, Crafts, Art, Cooking, Gardening, Religion, Self-help, Health, a selection of Afrikaans and even some German, French and other foreign language books – plus of course, Children’s books, Cats and Dogs, Wildlife, Travel and a few other genres I may have overlooked.

Bob’s mantra is: “Bring us all your surplus books, old or new, and CDs, LPs, even puzzles and magazines – and we will decide what we can put on the shelves and what we need to pass down the chain to others or, if absolutely necessary, to recycle.” Bob has a good feel for what sells and he prices most attractively so that the stock is always moving. When you, or your grandchild, can come in and find an armful of intriguing books for perhaps R100 – well, that’s real value. And if you are a true bibliophile, you may spot a first edition or rare book at a modest cost.

Bob Hill among the wide variety of quality second-hand books for sale ar the SANTA bookshop in Abeerdeen Street.
Photo: Hedda Mittner

The admin elf is Pat van Schoor who checks the takings, does the roster and, with her silver tongue, charms the volunteers into extra duties. So, where does the stock come from? Well, from you, gentle reader! When you do a cull of your shelves to make room for new acquisitions, sorting out those books you just know you will never read again, bring them in to the SANTA Bookshop in a carton or a couple of plastic bags and we shall be delighted.

Schedule a clear-out soon, please. Sometimes when sales are slow, the volunteer’s day is made by a generous donation. Newish paperbacks, older classics, esoteric subjects, bodice rippers, thrillers, westerns, we take the lot! SANTA is looking forward to your visit. And if you are disposing of a lifetime’s accumulation, we may even be able to come and collect.

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