The most recent census said that Strathmere has 158 full-time residents, but Schiavo Library Director Christine Rohrman, of Wildwood, put the number at about 90.
"It gets very quiet in the winter, but in the summer on one day we had over 60 people visit," Rohrman said.
The library is the product of Dr. Rita C. Schiavo. Rohrman said Schiavo was remarkable in that she pursued higher education at a time when it was rare for women to do so. Schiavo earned a B.S. in education from Temple University in 1946, an M.A. in education in 1946, and a J.D. from Temple University Law School in 1951. She was active in the Philadelphia community until her death in 2005, but Schiavo spent summers in Strathmere with her family.
Upon her death, Schiavo - who Rohrman said had no children - left her estate for the establishment of a private, nonprofit library in Strathmere on the site of her family's former vacation home.
Now, the library depends on the donations of patrons, and is holding its annual book sale through September.
"All the books (in the sale) come from donations," Rohrman said, "About 90 percent of the library's books are donated."
The sale, which takes up about half of the library's open floor space, includes donated books that are duplicates of the library's stock or that Rohrman believes wouldn't interest the library's clientele.
The proceeds from the book sale are used for the library's general fund because Rohrman says the library is allotted a very small operating budget. Other than the book sale, the library conducts no major fundraisers.
Joan DiFiore is a seasonal assistant to Rohrman during the summer months at the library. On the Thursday that she was working, she said the library was receiving a lot of attention.
"The summer is pretty busy," she said. "Today we had about 10 for the sale and three patrons," she said.
Melissa Warren, Rohrman's full-time assistant and Sea Isle resident, said that the library's foot traffic picks up on days that events are happening.
"During summertime, we do have storytime and Legos with the kids," she said. "Over the last two years, there was a reading program where if a child read a book, they would fill out an ice cream cone topping and at the end of the summer they would fill up their ice cream and get a gift certificate."
Warren, who is Rohrman's niece by marriage, said that the library also tries to host events that benefit adults in the community.
"We have a local author's night that is done every year," she said. "We call up local authors and have them come and maybe sell and talk about some of their books. It's just great for the community."
The books at the book sale are currently going for $1 for hardcovers, 50 cents for paperbacks, or four paperbacks for $1. The sale will continue until Sept. 21, but the library is open year round, five days per week.
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