Book exchange adds appeal to Hadley transfer station


Staff Writer
Published: 1/30/2023 9:16:02 PM
Modified: 1/30/2023 9:15:49 PM

HADLEY — Many transfer stations around the region have become more than just places to bring household trash, recyclables and compost, becoming part of the fabric of the community with take-it-or-leave-it facilities and book sheds.

Hadley’s transfer station recently improved its offerings to the public when the Board of Health launched a book exchange that gives residents with transfer station permits an opportunity to come to the site on North Branch Road, off Cemetery Road, to pick up and drop off books, and keep books from becoming part of the waste stream.

Board of Health Chairwoman Dr. Susan Mosler said the book shed was inspired by what she had seen elsewhere.

Using less than $1,500 in a health board account for outreach and needs, Mosler said the wooden bookcase and cabinet were planned last summer and opened in October, though it has been closed in the new year to protect the books from the elements. Mosler said it is likely to reopen on March 1.

In the weeks the book shed was open, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Mosler said she and other volunteers kept it organized, with shelves for children’s books and adult fiction and nonfiction. Books that are donated are immediately organized.

“We get a lot of books dropped off, but we don’t have unshelved books,” Mosler said.

The children’s books, in particular, appear to have a high turnover. Outdated materials, such as textbooks, and other books that are inappropriate are brought to a regional recycling facility.

While the book shed was originally going to be made from plain wood, Hadley artist Justin Griffin volunteered to paint the exterior with a mural. The artwork was paid for out of pocket, but the health board obtained a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant that provided $200 to cover the cost of the paint and supplies.

The book shed is dedicated to the memory of Gregory Mish, a longtime health board member and lifelong Hadley resident who died last June.

Mosler said the book shed is an appropriate way to remember Mish. “He loved to read,” Mosler said. “I never saw him without a book.”

While gauging whether the facility is keeping some books from the landfill or incinerator, Mosler said she has no doubt it is working, based on her observations.

“It’s been very successful,” Mosler said. “I consider it a real asset to our community.”

Scott Merzbach can be reached at
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