“Our children’s buyer, Sarah, selected the books for each classroom. We made ornaments with a child’s name on each of them and their grade and a book they could receive. The customers chose whichever ornament(s) they wanted to sponsor and we sold that book to them, then wrapped the book and put the child’s name on it. It was really a win for everyone. We sold books, the customer had an easy way to donate to a good cause, and the kids get quality children’s books.
For me, the takeaway from the success of this drive is that now more than ever, bookstores and libraries are essential and relevant places where public discourse still thrives. Our efforts are not driven by 24-hour news cycles or social media trends as much as the real-time needs of our community. It also tells me that there is an overwhelming desire in this community to support constructive efforts to make our city a better, more racially diverse and tolerant place. Books and stories help to build empathy – to humanize people who might otherwise be reduced to a “role” or “label.”
I’m proud of our city for having the courage to march head on into some very difficult, emotionally charged waters and face our shortcomings around race, poverty, and community policing. These conversations are messy, painful, and sometimes dangerous – but they are necessary and ultimately fruitful. It takes bravery on all sides to take something as ugly and brutal as what we’ve seen and confront our own roles in it.”
What do indie bookstores do for their community? Here’s a truly remarkable answer to that question. Left Bank Books (St. Louis, MO) responded to the unrest in Ferguson by giving back in a big way. Reported by BTW, Left Bank held a holiday book drive for Airport Elementary School in the Ferguson-Florissant School District. The drive was truly a success. Left Bank’s customers purchased a book for every child at the school: 326 of them.
How did Left Bank do it? Was there a benefit to them? Co-owner Jarek Steels tells us more.
Thank you Left Bank for encapsulating the civic duty inherent in an independent bookstore.