On the very first day of the new year friends and customers stopped by Eight Cousins in Falmouth, Mass., to celebrate former owner Carol Chittenden’s contributions to the community and the larger book world. Chittenden is retiring after working at the bookstore for the past 28 years, first under her mother, Betty Borg, and then as owner.

Under Chittenden’s leadership, Eight Cousins, which originally began as a children’s specialty bookstore, received a Pannell Award from the Women’s National Book Association in 2002. She cofounded the New England Children’s Booksellers Advisory Council Association in 1987 and helped create Candlewick’s popular Find Waldo Local promotion, which has driven traffic to indie bookstores for three summers in a row.

In an e-mail blast late last week, Chittenden wrote, “If everyone had a job as absorbing and rewarding as mine has been at Eight Cousins, the world would be a far happier place – and that’s not even counting the chance to play with stickers on gift wrapping. In answer to the many questions about my future plans, l have decided not to go blonde and change my name to Peaches, pending the issuance of my NASCAR license.... Possibilities abound, but none could match the fun I’ve had at Eight Cousins.”

The gathering also gave well-wishers a chance to meet the new owners: Sara Hines, who manages the store’s digital media, programming, and events; fiction buyer Mary Fran Buckley; and local businesswoman Eileen Miskell, co-owner of the Wood Lumber Company in Falmouth.