Monday, August 26, 2013

They’re Starting a Library by Jose Leavitt

I love books. I mean I love books. But I don't love libraries. Allow me to clarify. What I mean is I'm not giddy-gushy about public libraries. Of course I utilize them, however, the draw to spend hours, upon hours lost among the stacks is greatly lacking. Personal libraries fuel me. To me, there is something magical about knowing the books that have transported me to faraway places and back, challenged my viewpoints, solidified my love of reading, in addition to that one, okay, ones that I've been intending to read for years rests within arm’s reach. Anytime I want to read it's there waiting on me.  The following blog post speaks to the POWER of the written word. I just had to repost from Publisher's Weekly.

My shelves, bins, plus two big boxes of books

They're Starting a Library
Josie Leavitt -- August 16th, 2013
I know I often begin a post by saying how much I love the kids who shop at my store, and today’s post is no different. I’m not sure if these kids are just amazing because they’re country kids or if they’re just great kids.

Yesterday, my first customers were two sisters. Gwen, 15, and her 10 year-old sister, Kate, who were shopping in the young adult section. I asked if they needed any help and they both turned to me with eyes wide and smiling, “Yes.” We went to the computer because they weren’t finding the books they wanted.  Gwen took out her journal (the journal she made herself from an old hardcover) to consult her book list. Sadly, the meticulous book list is kept in pencil and didn’t photograph well. Suffice to say, it was the most organized, thoughtful and loving book list I’ve ever seen. Clear handwriting with annotations for every book. Pages and pages of books were listed; it was quite amazing. I asked the sisters what they were doing and I got back an answer I never expected.

“We’re starting a library at our house.” That’s a great idea. But it gets better. They’re not just adding books to an existing library, or a few shelves here or there. The younger sister is actually giving up her room, moving in with her sister (who is willing to share her teenaged space) and creating a library from scratch in her old room. “We’re going for a Downtown Abbey kind of library.” They were beaming as they talked about it.

They are on a budget, so they were very thoughtful about the books they picked. They’re starting with paperbacks (I wish I could fund hardcovers for them), and they want historical fiction and some fantasy titles. The sisters conferred on titles, although Gwen is clearly leading the cultivation of the collection. Judging by the number of gift cards they both had, I’d say all of their birthday presents come from our store. The sisters left with a book and ordered seven more.
I thought about these two a lot since they came in. I just love that their parents are letting them change up the whole house to make a dedicated space for their books and giving them free reign to design and fill the library. And that this makes two young people so happy, just fills me with joy. I’m reminded in this age of Kindles and e-books, that the physical book does still matter greatly to more folks than I can possibly know. And honestly, what a great way to start a retail day.


  1. This made me smile. I love reading your blog, keep it up!

  2. Interesting story, one of the differences between sisters and brothers. My brother and I was tearing the house apart for our own rooms around the same age. I wonder if Gwen will reget her decision in for couple of years.


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