Rita Cantor, volunteer coordinator for Literacy Volunteers of Franklin and Somerset Counties is seen rearranging boxes of books Saturday morning, Nov. 25, in the hallway outside the office in the basement of the Arthur D. Ingalls Building at 144 High Street in Farmington. Free books are available 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Thursday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. the last Saturday of the month. A special book give away will be held during Chester Greenwood Day on Dec. 2. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

FARMINGTON — Literacy Volunteers of Franklin and Somerset Counties [LVFSC] has a new location and is offering more opportunities to get books into community members’ hands.

The Franklin Journal learned LVFSC would be giving away books during Chester Greenwood Day on Saturday, Dec. 2, and reached out to learn more about that event and the one scheduled the last Saturday of every month.

On Tuesday, Nov. 21, executive director Barbara Averill said literacy volunteers moved into the Ingalls’ Center Aug. 1, has a suite of rooms downstairs in the Arthur D. Ingalls Building located at 144 High Street. “We are very excited that we are there,” she noted.

Averill said Rita Cantor, LVFSC volunteer coordinator spearheaded the Saturday book give-away. “The first one was held in September,” she noted. “We will keep doing it rain or shine. We will have tables outside, front and back weather permitting.

“It’s like the book sales we used to have. It’s just as classy but the books are free.”

Averill loves books, missed being able to share them during the coronavirus pandemic.


The books are of incredible quality, are extremely well sorted and labeled, Averill said. All books are donated to LVFSC, she noted. Different partners such as Twice Sold Tales, area libraries and others try to accommodate the need for books, she stated. Four times a year Devaney, Doak and Garrett Booksellers donates its advanced copies, she said.

Literacy activities and treats will be available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. during Chester Greenwood Day, Averill noted. The back parking lot may have limited spaces available but people may park in the Tri-County Mental Health lot, she stated.

“We had been holding the book give away on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. but people work,” Cantor said Saturday, Nov. 25. “So I said I would do it Saturday. I have organized all the books by genre so it makes it easier for people to pick books.”

For every Saturday give away Cantor [with some help from her husband Jeff] takes boxes of books off the shelves and places them on tables lining the hallway. “I put some out front too to try to entice people to come in,” she said. “It is outreach for the community, for the Literacy Volunteers that we are here. Maybe some people would be interested in volunteering their time or getting tutoring if they need it.”

LVFSC provides tutoring in reading and math, Cantor noted.

Cantor retired in 2018, moved to Farmington from Portland and was soon volunteering with LVFSC. She was working with a class in 2019 right before COVID-19 struck and had a student who lacked transportation. They met over FaceTime, so in some ways Zoom worked out, she stated.


Recently 55 boxes of books were brought to LVFSC from storage at Spruce Mountain Adult and Community Education, Cantor said. “The space here is pretty small, I couldn’t even move things,” she noted. “I still have some books piled up.”

Well over 1,000 books had been sorted before those were brought to LVFSC, Cantor said. “It’s at least 2,000 to 3,000 at this point,” she noted. “We have pretty much brought everything here. I have got my surplus on the top shelves.”

For every free book event Cantor refills the boxes. Some boxes hold books written by a specific author, such as Nora Roberts or Danielle Steel while others hold books by various authors in specific genres. Children’s books are located in the office on lower shelves.

“It makes it easy for people to find what they want,” Cantor noted. “Not just fiction and non-fiction but we have a variety. Crafts, cookbooks, sports, history magazines, sci-fi. We have children’s books also. Board books for infants all the way up to young adults. Kids like looking at them at that level.”

LVFSC also hosts a Literary Cafe, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Thursday when free books are available. “We’ll have coffee, people can stop in,” Cantor said. “We have a section of reference materials tutors can sign out for their students.”

LVFSC stickers with contact information are placed on every book.


“Barbara is very energetic about the whole literacy thing,” Cantor said. “We hope people come in, see about us, maybe get interested in volunteering or getting books for themselves.”

Even electronic books are so crazy expensive, so LVFSC is a good source, Cantor noted. Libraries are another great source, she stated.

LVFSC accepts book donations from the public but won’t be taking books Dec. 2, Averill noted. For more information, call or text 207-500-3131, visit the website or Facebook page.

“I want to get books in everyone’s hands, starting when they are young, Cantor stressed. “That’s important.”

“I most love it when we can get books out to kids, families,” Averill added.

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