ON A BONE-CHILLING winter day, nothing beats curling up with a book by a fire.
And the perfect place to find a good book at a good price is Books With A Past -- a used bookstore that opened two years ago in Glenwood.
The shop is owned and operated by Glenwood residents Mary Alice and Marvin Schaefer. They have expanded the store twice since opening in the Inwood Village shopping center in June 1996. The store boasts nearly 100,000 volumes.
According to "The Used Book Lovers Guide of the South Atlantic States," Books With a Past "has a little bit of everything."
The spacious, well-lighted shelves contain old and new books: best sellers, countless paperbacks and a large nonfiction section.
There is a collection of books on cryptology containing information that was, at one time, strictly classified.
No cappuccino or latte is served here, but book browsers can spend hours in volumes ranging from "How To Paint Anything" to "Victoria's Words of Love."
The books are classified according to category -- biography, history, religion, horses, gardening or philosophy -- and the shelves are clearly labeled.
In the fiction room, one wall contains shelves of bodice-ripping romance novels. Another wall is well stocked with mysteries.
One section contains large coffee-table volumes featuring the works of Monet and Picasso.
Mary Alice Schaefer is in the process of creating a children's section with shelves short enough to accommodate the smallest readers.
Owning a used bookstore is a dream that Schaefer and her husband always shared.
The couple met while they were students at what was then called San Fernando Valley State College in California.
While her husband pursued a career in computer program development, Schaefer became a volunteer. She holds life memberships in California and Maryland PTSAs.
Before opening their bookstore, the Schaefers spent a year as apprentices at a general inventory used bookstore in Gaithersburg. They have become members of the Washington Antiquarian Booksellers Association.
A few of their volumes date from the 1700s and 1800s.
Mary Alice Schaefer said that the shop buys most of its inventory from its customers.
Prices vary: A first-edition book, for example, is worth more than a book club edition.
"Ultimately," Schaefer said, "it is supply and demand that determines how much a book is worth. A one-of-a-kind book has more value than a book with millions of copies."
Books With A Past is open from 11 a.m. too 7 p.m. weekdays and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
This fall, pupils at Triadelphia Ridge Elementary -- a new school on Triadelphia Road that opened in August -- reached out to brighten the holidays of those less fortunate than themselves.
Contributing spare change, canned goods and handmade cards, the children helped victims of Hurricane Mitch, helped stock area food banks and brought holiday cheer to patients at Springfield Hospital Center.
The spare change drive was part of the American Red Cross effort to help hurricane victims in Central America.
Principal Sue Webster said she will never forget the sight of students filing into school clutching bags filled with pennies and other coins.
When PTA Community Outreach Chairman Sandy Hesse weighed their contributions, the children had collected 40 pounds of pennies and 8 pounds of quarters -- totaling $1,532.87.
Hesse took the money to the bank to obtain a certified check, only to discover, to her dismay, that there would be a charge for the check as well as a charge for rolling the coins.
As she tried to persuade the teller to waive the charges, the customer behind her in line overheard the exchange.
He offered to pay the charges so that all of the children's contributions could go to the hurricane victims.
The students and faculty at Triadelphia Ridge Elementary School say "thank you" to the mystery man whose act of kindness illuminated the spirit of giving.
The effort to help hurricane victims was only one example of the children's generosity.
In a food drive held in late November, the children donated 316 pounds of food to the Maryland Food Bank and double that amount to the Howard County food pantry.
In December, patients at Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville were pleased to receive more than 400 holiday cards and decorations handmade by the Triadelphia Ridge students.
The students put their best efforts into making these simple, colorful items to brighten the hospital rooms.
These activities were part of Triadelphia Ridge Elementary's Retriever Outreach program, named after the school's mascot -- a retriever.
This month, students will make audiotapes of themselves reading books and donate the books and the tapes to community agencies, including Head Start preschool programs and programs for the visually impaired.
Two western Howard County residents are showing their work at the Artists' Gallery in the American City Building on Wincopin Circle in Columbia.
Visit the gallery to see sculpture by Glenelg resident Julie Van Hemert and an oil on canvas, "The Rainmaker," by Clarksville painter Sharon Bartel Clements.
This is the gallery's second Invitational Show and features the work of 13 other artists. The show ends Jan. 29.
Pub Date: 1/14/99