Bibliophiles on the East End, especially those who long ago discovered the treasure trove at the Bridgehampton Association’s Book Bay, are in for a pleasant surprise: After a month-long renovation, the Book Bay has reopened and revealed an organized array of gently used books of every genre—at bargain basement prices.
Since 1984, the year the Bridgehampton Association was founded, volunteers have cooperatively scheduled themselves to work shifts in the single bay in the old Bridgehampton firehouse, which lent the operation its name. The Book Bay is a primary source of fundraising for the Bridgehampton Association, which annually distributes grants to local charities. This year, $30,000 has been given to 15 nonprofits.
Some may remember a small house in the front yard of the Hampton Library, where volunteers had sold used books for the benefit of the library. Those volunteers were among the founders of the Bridgehampton Association who decided, after the library concluded that the small building was an eyesore and had it demolished, to find a new location for their used book operation and distribute the proceeds to a broader list of charities.
They’ve been doing it ever since at the Book Bay, which is located on the School Street side of the Bridgehampton Community House. Other fundraising activities of the Bridgehampton Association are its annual holiday fair and a golf tournament.
The recent renovation was the first in many years, said Bridgehampton Association President Blair Soyster Fiore. After the Community House agreed to fix a leaky roof, members of the Bridgehampton Association decided to tackle some of the damage, including mold, as well as address the poor lighting, and disarray that results from years of adding more and more to the shelves without a plan for expansion in mind.
To begin the renovation, every single book and shelf was removed and stored in the Community House. New lighting was installed, the walls were painted, carpet was installed, and a plan was devised for organizing the shelves to accommodate the many books and additional shelving purchased to hold them. The result is a light-filled room without the smell of mildew, and a range of books organized by genre, easily found by the clear labels on the shelves.
The Book Bay is open for the time being on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; in the summer, it will be open seven days. There is a convenient shelf in a sheltered area outside the Book Bay where donated books may be placed. If you’ve been there once, you’re advised to go there again—and again. The stock changes all the time, and you’ll find bestsellers and classics, coffee-table books, and so much more.