They’re Starting a Library

Josie Leavitt - August 16, 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 Downton 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.

11 thoughts on “They’re Starting a Library

  1. beth goehring

    Agreed; their parents are wonderful, but for two sisters to want to share a room?! How many of us begged for a space/any space to get away from the pesky little sister or the bossy older sister? These two are on a wonderful road to lifetime friendship–paved by a love of books. And what better bond could there be?

  2. Debbie W.

    I love this story! What fun it would be to build a library like that! That would be a fun follow-up story…..with pictures!

  3. Martha

    A suggestion – the Mary Stewart Arthur & Merlin titles seem like they would be perfect for these girls! Are they still availble?

  4. penny

    Yes Yes Yes! I am so relieved and happy to see that who I was at that age continues to 2013 and hopefully beyond.

  5. Josie Leavitt

    I meant to add this Friday, but my day got away from me. Shortly after the post appeared I got a phone call from one of my publisher’s reps who wishes to remain anonymous. She was calling because she was so touched by these sisters that she donated a $30 gift card to help them with their library. The sisters came in today and gleefully spent the gift card on the books they ordered.
    I am touched by the girls and by the rep who understands the power of books.

  6. Mary Beth Naughton

    This is such a nice story because in this day and age books are not that important to some of the kids I know. These two sisters are truly following their hearts. How beautiful!!

  7. Shannon Roy

    This is such a wonderful story! I remember as a child asking for gift certificates at my local bookstore for birthdays and holidays.


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