About Us

Information about btc, our history, policies — all your questions answered.

Meet Our Staff

Tom Congalton
Tom Bloom

Tom Congalton
began collecting old and not-always-so rare books in 1968 at the age of sixteen, inspired by the memoirs of rare booksellers that he read rather than shelving books at the Monmouth County Library in Freehold, New Jersey where he feigned work. After several fits and starts in book collecting (detailed ad nauseum in his specialist dealer speech at the 27th Annual Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar), he began selling books to other dealers, and by quoting books in the wanted section of the now defunct bookselling magazine AB Bookman's Weekly. After a strikingly mediocre academic career at Monmouth College, Rutgers University, and a few other institutions that would probably not thank you for mentioning that he ever darkened their door, he pursued a variety of other careers for which he was equally unsuited, including helping in the construction of monumental sculptures for an award-winning artist, cooking in restaurants, and for nearly a decade, owning and operating a custom woodworking shop.

Throughout this time he continued to buy and sell books, becoming more serious about the whole process around 1978, when he began to spend increasing amounts of time seriously scouting and selling books to other dealers. Tom became a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA), the national professional booksellers' trade organization in 1990. After terms on the Board of Governors as an At-Large member, as Secretary, and as Vice President of the ABAA, he served as President of that organization from 2000-2002. He has also served on the Committee for the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, the oldest book fair in the United States, for over twenty years, much of that time as either Chairman or Co-Chairman. He was one of the founding members of the Antiquarian Booksellers of New Jersey (ABNJ), present at their inaugural meeting in 1985. From 2005-2010 he lectured at the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar held annually at Colorado College, and served on the Board of Directors of the Foundation that oversees the Seminar. Since 2008 he has co-taught a course on developing collection at Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. He has published articles on book collecting and the antiquarian book trade in specialist periodicals in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and has been interviewed on the subject of rare books, book collecting, and the antiquarian book trade by newspapers and periodicals including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Business Week, Investors Business Daily, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and many others, as well as by various specialist periodicals. After serving as Chairman of the ILAB Internet Committee, and as editor of the ILAB Newsletter, Tom served as President of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) from 2012-2014. In 2016 he was elected President of Honor of ILAB. He has many other wonderful attributes and achievements, which he would be happy to regale you about ad nauseum. email Tom Congalton

Heidi Congalton
was born in Pennsylvania, as this is where her family is from, but has spent most of her years in New Jersey. She met Tom in 1984 in Colts Neck, New Jersey where they both lived. She married Tom the next year because he had so many books, and encouraged him to give up his comfortable cabinet shop in order that he could sell books. The business operated for a short time in their apartment in Old Bridge. They moved shortly after to Collingswood, in Camden County - the reason they bought their house there was because Tom was supposed to be scouting for houses, but instead ended up spending too much time in a now defunct bookstore in Egg Harbor. When asked what houses he had found he volunteered the only one that he had seen, which they bought soon after. Heidi worked at various jobs, first waitressing, then in the accounting department of a law office in Philadelphia, until she joined the business fulltime in 1989. She was responsible for finding and setting up our first offices in Haddonfield. Heidi also attended the inaugural meeting of the ABNJ and served a term as the Secretary of that organization. Along with Shelley Caney, Heidi started the New Jersey Antiquarian Book Fair, the best and longest running antiquarian book fair in New Jersey. Heidi currently does our in-house bookkeeping, while jumping in elsewhere when needed. email Heidi Congalton

Corey Bechelli
is the Visual Architect of Between the Covers, constantly laying out catalogs or asking Kevin to take photos of specific books. He is also BTC's Technoshamanic Communications Emissary, interacting with computers, printers, and websites, making sure they all get along. He believes that creativity is vital to maintaining one's sanity; as such, outside of BTC he draws preposterous psychedelic comics and organizes community art shows. email Corey Bechelli

Ann Paul
grew up in North Philly and moved over to New Jersey in 1998. Her priorities are as wife, mother of three boys, and grandmother of one awesome boy. She loves all things dogs (with a slight bully obsession) and going to the shore as often as possible.  Ann does “caking” on the side and specializes in unique custom designs for every occasion. She has worked part time for Between the Covers for over twenty years and will most likely be the one who greets you on the phone. She loves to help out where she can, no task is too big or too small, she does it all. email Ann Paul

George Brophy
is the only member of the staff who is actually a native of Gloucester City. He has been with Alottabooks for several years, and for BTC he catalogs, ships books, and moves an awful lot of boxes around, for which the rest of the staff is eternally grateful. email George Brophy

Matt Histand
lives in South Philadelphia with his wife, three boys, two cats, and whatever stray animal is inhabiting in his bathroom this week. He majored in English at Rowan University, whose illustrious alumni include rocker and college dropout Patti Smith, as well as the actor who played Epstein in Welcome Back, Kotter. Matt has been with Between The Covers for the more than 10 years after a decade working for a promotional magazine where he touted innovative new consumer goods such as buttons that play music and stress balls shaped like cows. At BTC, Matt is responsible for various tasks from making coffee and cataloging archives to editing and assisting with appraisals, though coffee maintenance and consumption remain his primary focus. email Matt Histand

Kellie Paullin
is the whirlwind of Between the Covers; a logistical mastermind that handles all orders while organizing the sea of books stacked everywhere. email Kellie Paullin

Ken Giese
leapt at the opportunity to work in the trade and return home to Philadelphia. He was Assistant to Director Terry Belanger at Rare Book School (RBS) at the University of Virginia until Belanger’s retirement in 2009, whereupon he moved to Maryland to serve as Special Collections Librarian on a one-year cataloging project at Goucher College. A native Philadelphian and Temple graduate, Ken moved to New York City to study philosophy at the New School for Social Research. When this proved to be a poor career choice, Ken began a library career as Government Documents Librarian at the New York Law Institute, and was Technical Services Librarian at the Juilliard School before joining Rare Book School in 2006. He was first enticed into the trade after taking Tom Congalton’s and Katherine Reagan’s new RBS course in 2008. Ken has a MLS degree with a concentration in rare books and special collections from Long Island University, and is a member of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) of the American Library Association. In keeping with Terry’s vision, and Tom’s bottom line, he looks to promote close ties between librarians and booksellers. email Ken Giese

Ashley Wildes
is part My Little Pony and Selkie. She was raised by wolves until Dennis and Miriam Wildes found her one fateful day and decided to bring her up as their own in the too small town of Pitman, NJ, where she survived by reading the Chronicles of Narnia and watching Star Wars ad nauseam. At university she decided she never wanted to make money…ever, thus choosing as her majors writing arts and classical guitar. Naturally this led to several lucrative careers including, but not limited to, guitar teacher, waitress, and unpaid writing for numerous free magazines before eventually landing a job as a trucker for an auto parts company. After a year she was unable to cope with the glamorous life that is delivering auto parts, so our young heroine thought it may be time to move on. However, employers were not exactly breaking down the door. It seemed only right that the next course of action should be to become a hobo. To the eternal gratitude of Tom and Heidi, Matt called Ashley to apprise her of the wondrous opportunities that awaited her in the rare book world. Now she splits her time cataloging at Between the Covers and being a punk rock singer/guitarist in the band Dear Althea. She also writes young adult novels, consumes vast amounts of sugar, and lives in Philadelphia with her cat Mercutio. If you want to bribe her for any reason please send a pony, preferably of the Shetland variety, and Swedish Fish to BTC, and she will take your request into consideration. email Ashley Wildes

Ray Solowij
is the class clown at Between the Covers and has been an employee since January 2012. His early days with the company started with cataloging books but quickly moved to office gopher helping staff in any way he could offer his services and aides George in the shipping room when need be. Working alongside Corey, Ray assists in the photography room taking/editing photos of our inventory, creating web-based text documents of items, pioneering our department that focuses on single item mini-catalogs, and any other photography room needs (i.e. image prepping for catalog layouts, printing catalogs in-house and other random tasks). Ray fancies himself as a “punk rocker” and loves music with an unbridled passion. He is drummer for local indie/alternative/punk band Aspiga, and singer/guitar player for acoustic, folk punk band Mitchell. Lord willing and the creek don't rise, Ray looks forward to many happy years as an employee for this very neat and interesting company. Don’t email Ray Solowij

Kevin Buttari
was summoned via blood magick to work for Between the Covers as their in-house photographer. A digital photography wizard and avid video game enjoyer, Kevin is vying for the coveted title of “Dorkiest Dork” at BTC. During the fall, he moonlights as a camera operator for the Philadelphia Eagles, where he claims full credit for their Super Bowl LII victory (although he has yet to receive his ring). You can check out his personal photography @buttatari on Instagram. email Kevin Buttari

David Creech
grew up in the desert. After graduating with a degree in photography and working for a year with international students at the university, he hit the road. That first year he drove from Phoenix to New York City by way of Portland, Oregon, discovering the Mid-Atlantic along the way. After crossing the country several more times in his Honda Civic Janice, farming a bit, reading a lot, and somehow spending a couple of years in New York City, David settled in Chester County, Pennsylvania, an area he’d grown to love. That was where he first tripped and fell into rare books, and he couldn’t be happier about it. David is a proud CABS graduate (class of ‘18), and thoroughly enjoying cataloging &c. at BTC. email David Creech

Tony Espino
is a human (for now). He lives in Newfield, NJ, a small town with an average-sized barber who randomly vanishes into the astral realm leaving the townsfolk worried and shaggy. After many scary years of "doing eyeglasses," Tony's world was turned right side up when the world ended. He was left unemployed and free to watch 244 episodes of Bar Rescue with the closed caption stuck on. Directionless and with the fear of reruns looming before him, he dialed the experts at the Psychic Friends Network. At a bargain rate of $9.99 a minute, Bruno the Psychic flipped through a script from the future and said, "I predict you should get a job or something...in like 25 minutes. And tell your kids to chew with their mouths shut." Two hours later, Tony hung up and noticed his daughters noshing on drywall and centipedes in the absence of "real" food. To which he said, “You didn't Door Dash that did you?" That's when he texted Oprah and had her recalibrate the universe's reality projectors to reveal, under his seat, an opportunity cataloging books at Between the Covers. This is where he spends his days waiting for the right moment to tell his co-workers he can't read. email Tony Espino

Ada Wofford
(they/them) holds an MA in English and an MA in Library and Information Studies. In addition to working at Between the Covers, they are an associate poetry editor at Sundress Publications and the non-fiction editor at Stirring: A Literary Collection. Their writing has appeared in several journals and their chapbook I Remember Learning How to Dive was published in 2020 and earned them a Pushcart Prize nomination. They’re also an avid fan of old sitcoms and a veritable connoisseur of bottom-shelf whiskey. email Ada Wofford

Tom Bloom
is not a pipe, as Magritte would say. Nor is he a member of our staff strictly speaking. Tom is a professional illustrator of books, magazines and newspapers, and his work has regularly appeared in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, and The Village Voice. His cartoon illustrations have been used on the front page of The New York Times more than any other artist (at least that's what we've been told, we haven't looked at all of them). Tom has created over 100 catalog covers for Between the Covers, as well as the artwork for this website. email Tom Bloom