At the end of our regular Loft season and before the crazy days of the Book Fair, we had a little get-together at the Loft to thank our all-volunteer staff. In particular, we wanted to honor these two individuals, who each have spent more than three decades sorting and pricing books for the Dayton Book Fair.
Pat Barcelona– on the right– started first, when the loft was on the block of East Third between Wayne and Webster, in the building with colorful murals. Back in those days, you had to ring the bell, and someone upstairs would open the window and throw down the key so you could let yourself in. That was nearly 35 years ago, in 1981. Pat turned 90 this summer and she is excited that we’ll have Wednesday hours over the winter as that doesn’t interfere with her regular Thursday card game.
When Tony Bent (on the left) started a year later, the loft had moved to the Phillips Building on Springfield Street. He turned 92 this year and amidst his world travels and globe-trotting adventures he’s found time to come in from Yellow Springs to price books. For people who live in Yellow Springs, Tony has another role– his gold-colored van is a drop off spot for books to come to the loft. We had a phone call this year from a man in Yellow Springs who said he used to drop his books there “but that fellow must be more than 90 now, so I’m sure he doesn’t do that anymore.” (Yes, he still does that.)
Tony is hanging up his apron this autumn and it will not be the same without him there. But his van will go on being a collection spot for the Book Fair Foundation and he promises that he’ll stop in to see us once in awhile.
We have a wonderful group of volunteers. It’s amazing the volume of books they sort and process (50 tons this past year!) and what charming, interesting, intelligent folks they are– from all walks of life, and stripes of every interest, we are bound together by our love for books.
A special thanks to Pat and Tony for their many years of service, and their excellent company at the loft.