The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County's Friends of the Library has opened a new bookshop in the garage of their Hartwell warehouse.
Aptly called “The Garage,” the bookstore features gently used books both bundled and organized by age range and reader level, as well as games and puzzles. Customers can purchase bundles for curbside pick-up or browse individuals titles after making an appointment. You can also purchase book bundles for schools and neighborhoods, including local "Little Free Libraries."
The Friends refer to The Garage as a "pop-up pandemic bookshop" in a release because they were forced to cancel their annual June Book Sale — a big library fundraiser — due to tornado damage and the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Garage is a way for the Friends to put a fresh coat of paint on their mission and get books to people who need them at a large discount, while giving children and parents something to do this summer,” reads the press release.
The Garage space features a book sculpture called “The Ivory Desk,” built by Bobby Minelli, a representative from Friends of the Library, where readers can be photographed. The sculpture is “a visual symbol of the magic of books,” Minelli says.
“Especially given the current sort of state of the world, specifically in the past week, the idea of getting discounted books into the hands especially of children who might need them seems an urgent thing to everybody at the Friends, and that’s where most of the passion is derived from,” Minelli said.
“We all know books can build empathy, and empathy can be a radical and profound act of the imagination. That seems more necessary than ever.”
Books for the Garage are donated library books, which are quarantined and sanitized before being sold. Employees at The Garage will also be wearing masks and gloves.
The shop, located at 8456 Vine St. in Hartwell will be open Wednesdays from noon-6 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To make an appointment or for a curbside pick-up, patrons can call 513-349-4573 or email [email protected].
*A previous version of this story listed an incorrect opening date