Thursday, December 20, 2012

save the owl!

i work at an independent bookstore in the middle of main street in a fairly small town in ohio. contrary to the way many independents have gone recently, the learned owl has been able to get through its struggles and rough spots to remain in business since 1963. in spite of the big box stores and the evil online empire, we are still alive and kicking. 

the building, built in the 1860s, is relatively small, but we have three floors of books, cards, puzzles and the occasional knick-knack for all ages. there is many a nook and cranny, surprises around every corner, and it is not unusual to see children on the floor in front of the shelves with a favorite book or an adult poring over an intriguing cookbook or coffee table tome. it is, in short, a respite from the hectic life we all lead, a calm in the storm of our everyday lives. we have been known to hear people sigh, and breathe more easily, once they walk through our door; the presence of books has a calming affect on people.

of course, it might also be our dear book shop dog, ruby, who greets folks when they come in, unless she's napping in the middle of the floor, which is actually a frequent position for her. but not to worry - she is not fazed by people stepping over and around her, and loves having little ones snuggle in next to her for a visit while parents and grandparents do their shopping. 

the owner of the shop has been working her magic in town for 29 years and recently decided to pursue her many other interests. she is looking for a buyer for the shop, someone who will continue the legacy of the owl. there have been several interested parties, but no one has yet met all of the criteria.  

i am fortunate to be able to work with people who share a love of books and who enjoy delighting in them, discussing them and recommending them. our customers are the best in the world and being able to help them find the perfect book for themselves or for friends and family is what we live for as booksellers and having them return to tell us how much the book was loved is even better! there are customers whose parents shopped at the owl for their school books who are now buying books for their own children. there are customers who have moved away and who come back whenever they're in town to visit, commenting on how much like coming home it is to be in the shop. and there are people who stumble in more or less accidentally, who have lived in the area for a while but never knew we were here, who become regular customers and book club attendees and dear friends.
this brings me to my pitch, something i generally am uncomfortable with. i never even liked to collect for unicef on halloween when i was a child, as i am uncomfortable asking people for money. however, the learned owl is very important to our town, and to me. none of us can imagine what it would be like if the learned owl was not here, and our events coordinator has decided that she is ready to take the reins from liz and so has launched an indiegogo campaign to raise money to purchase the business. all of us who work at the learned owl, and i dare say most, if not all, of our customers are 100% behind her. please consider a donation in support of the learned owl and small independent businesses in general at   we thank you in advance.