hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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October 2, 2012

Library gift shop a treasure trove of culture

When you walk through the main entrance of the Haverhill Public Library, it’s easy to overlook the Friends of the Haverhill Library Gift Shop.

But if you don’t notice it, you’ll miss a taste of the city’s history and culture.

For more than 20 years, the shop — tucked in a corner to the right of the entrance on the first floor — has sold memorabilia showcasing the city. Recently the shop has been beefed up, with more items added to its collection. It has become more than just a Haverhill-themed gift shop.

“We’ve been trying to get some new items in that will get some more people coming through our doors,” said Jennifer Scarci, who volunteers at the shop.

The shop has transformed to sell everything from colonial candles which make a nice housewarming gift to school supplies for students doing homework in the library who may have forgotten to bring a pen or pencil.

The store’s bread and butter remains items which primarily show off Haverhill’s past. The memories of Colonial heroine Hannah Duston and poet John Greenleaf Whittier are prominent in the store, with miniature statues of Duston on display and several of Whittier’s books on the shelves.

“We get people who love history and who are writing books that need materials in here,” said Suzanne Davis, another volunteer at the shop. “They’ll come in and pick something up for reference.”

Scarci said the shop fills a niche that had previously been empty in Haverhill.

“If you need something that says ‘Haverhill’ or you need some history about Haverhill, this is the place to come,” she said.

Scarci and Davis are two of several volunteers who donate their time at the shop. They are members of the Friends of the Haverhill Library, a group which raises money to go towards the library. All profits of the shop go directly to the library.

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