Bookmarks opened its new bookstore earlier today. It was exciting to see folks on Fourth Street lined up to get books instead of methadone. No offense to anyone taking methadone, we all need something. One thing Winston has needed for years is a first-rate bookstore.
Galleries are great, but every decent downtown has a quality bookstore. Bright Leaf Books, which opened a few months ago, is a nice little independent bookstore. But Bookmarks is a destination, a large independent bookstore, and a gathering place for the community. Bookmarks is a game-changer that expands Winston’s definition of the Arts to include composition on the printed page, not just paint on a canvas.
Bookmarks’ new building, located at 634 West Fourth Street is pretty amazing. It’s not as big as a big box bookstore but it feels like it’s the right size. It’s an old building that’s been beautifully repurposed by architect Glenn Fulk. Bookmarks is the kind of bookstore that we’ve been waiting for. It’s a historic building on Fourth Street with plenty of parking.
And it’s only going to get better! When Foothills opens its new space adjacent to Bookmarks in October. It will be a nice place to get a caffeinated or alcoholic beverage and read a book amongst book lovers. (The genius of the Bookmarks/Foothills collaboration is that customers can’t grab a cup of coffee and skim a book. They’ll have to buy a book at Bookmarks and get their beverage next door at the new Foothills space. Brilliant! They’ve solved a problem that Barnes and Noble haven’t.)
Lynn Felder wrote a nice article in today’s Winston-Salem Journal on Bookmarks’ rise, in just a few short years from a humble non-profit with only two part-time employees operating out of a basement in Ardmore. Everyone involved with Bookmarks-especially all the volunteers that give so generously of their time have to be extremely proud of what they’ve accomplished.
Bookmarks annually holds the largest book festival in North or South Carolina on the weekend following Labor Day. They’ve brought renowned authors to Winston. Wednesday they’re bringing John Grisham to Bookmarks. They have school/community outreach programs that have reached thousands of school kids. As we speak hundreds of kids in Winston-Salem, Forsyth County are engaged in Bookmarks’ summer reading program.
Bookmarks’ new space is also a sign that the lowest point of bookstores and libraries in Winston is over. Things are looking up. Bookmarks and Bright Leaf are wonderful community resources.
The more bookstores that we have, the more people will fall in love with books and become lifelong readers. But what Winston really desperately needs is for the Central Library to reopen. That should come sometime next month.
It’s been over 2 years since Winston’s Central Library closed to be torn down and almost completely rebuilt. There has been a real void in our community without it. The inexcusably long wait is almost over. In just a few weeks the new Central Library should be open. Bookmarks, Bright Leaf and the reopened Central Library! It’s enough for booklovers to scream aloud Winston’s former marketing slogan, “O! Winston-Salem, Now That’s Living!”