Friends of Libraries and Literacy treasurer Margie Schechardt and president Joe Driear shelve books at the new used-book shop on Ridgecrest Drive. Gary Herron photo.

A new book store opens Tuesday in Rio Rancho, and money spent there benefits literacy programs throughout Sandoval County.
The shop, 4300 Ridgecrest Drive, Suite J, at the north end of the Target/Albertsons shopping center, is run by the newly chartered Friends of Libraries and Literacy Inc. It’ll be open Tuesdays-Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If that sounds familiar to another book organization in the City of Vision, it’s because that group was previously known as Friends of Rio Rancho Libraries until the City of Rio Rancho severed the relationship between the city and nonprofit last summer.
The Friends volunteers —although the city welcomed them to continue working as individuals at Rio Rancho’s two public libraries — gathered their books, book carts and anything else they owned and began looking for another site.
They found a 2,300-squre-foot space, repainted it and began moving what Friends President Joe Driear says are about 7,000 books inside, many of them on 31 bookcases donated by Joyce Smith, whose late husband, Charlie, was once a proud Friend.
To recognize Smith, who died last year, the new shop named its area with children’s, “tweens’” and teens’ books “Charlie’s Corner.”
They obtained a business license from the city, and will operate at 25 percent capacity in a COVID-safe environment — masks must be worn and social-distancing is required.
“We’re doing six customers max … first-come, first-served, 30-minute max browsing when others are waiting to enter. Hopefully, this will work smoothly without too many people waiting outside in the cold,” Driear said.
The new organization, not under city oversight, can always use more volunteers. If interested, call Margie Schechardt at 404-366-3004 or go to folrr.org.
The new FriendShop — yes, just one word — contains the same materials as the group’s other shop in Loma Colorado Main Library, plus a few hundred books once offered for sale at Esther Bone Memorial Library, but many more. It has fiction and nonfiction hard-covers and paperback books, magazines, classical and contemporary CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes, puzzles, tote bags and handmade greeting cards.
As usual, prices are very reasonable for the mostly gently-used — and some new — items.
There’s at least one advantage at the new digs, which formerly housed a ceramics shop and later a pet store, Driear pointed out: When the group had monthly book sales at Loma Colorado library, volunteers had to push the heavy-laden book carts from storage into the library’s auditorium. Now all the books are kept on display, saving a lot of tired muscles and sore backs.
The new shop will still accept donations; those materials may be dropped off when the shop is open.

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Gary Herron | Observer staff writer