Eric Maywar, owner of Trenton’s “Used, Classic and Rare Books” and curator of the “Trenton Candidate Discussion Facbeook Group” undeniably has a huge heart for the city of Trenton. Between the social capital events he holds for the community and his “no-mudslinging allowed” campaign contributions, Maywar is constantly working to make his home the best city in New Jersey. “Trenton’s great,” he says. “Who wouldn’t have a big heart for it?”
Maywar’s programs in Trenton often stem off of his strong belief in the power of social capital building, which he says is an academic way of stating that neighbors should be able to meet and get to know each other at events that aren’t political. “[Through that] they can identify problems and work towards solutions without falling into partisan camps” Maywar says.
According to the bookstore’s website, communities where social capital is high thrive in many tough to achieve areas. “Kids do better in school, more people volunteer, more people vote and otherwise care about their city and there is less crime–all the things we in Trenton want to have happen.” Trenton residents have a many choices of the social capital-building events hosted at the at the bookstore, including a Scrabble Club, Trenton Knit and Stitch, the Capital City Open Mic, Board Games Club, and Peoples and Stories.
For similar reasons, Maywar created the Trenton Candidate Discussion Facebook Group. “I wanted [real candidate responses rather than] all the other nonsense–most Facebook discussions devolve into mudslinging and character assassinations.” The Discussion group’s purpose is to be a center of discussion where political propaganda is prohibited. Each candidate is given an equal opportunity to answer questions posed by undecided voters. “We don’t do character, resume or endorsements, just the issues” he says.
But of all his programs, Maywar considers his most successful to be the bookstore’s Books at Home program, which provides free books to the children of Trenton. “Studies have shown that if a kid has 500 books in their home it has a positive impact on their schooling, so we’ve handed out thousands of books.” But Maywar isn’t leaving out the adults by any means. He keeps prices consistently inexpensive so anyone who loves to read can stop by the bookstore and pick up a few. When asked about his favorite program, Maywar sites programs involving giving out books as “ Probably #1!”
Maywar’s endorsement of the power of social capital building is an interesting idea to post towards our mayoral candidates. Is this a possible solution for many of Trenton’s issues? If so, would the citizens like our new mayor to meet with Maywar to discuss ways he or she can host successful events that build social capital? Maybe the new mayor could attend Maywar’s weekly events in order to get to know the issues citizens are facing on a more intimate level. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!
You can go visit Used, Classic and Rare Booksin person at 4 West Lafayette St., Downtown Trenton, or online at www.classicsusedbooks.com