“Groovy Nate” entertains children in Bards Alley.
Photo by Lisa Fay/The Connection
Saturday, April 27, marked the fifth annual nationwide Independent Bookstore Day. According to the Indie Bookstore Day website, Independent Bookstore Day is a one-day national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the country on the last Saturday in April.
Vienna bookstore, Bards Alley, took part in this national celebration by hosting activities throughout the day such as talks with authors, children’s performances, games, and an all day book scavenger hunt. Books wrapped up in brown paper were hidden in local shops where people could go and find them. “There are so many reasons why this bookstore is important for the community,” said Jen Morrow, owner of Bards Alley. “If offers different things for different people. In a town like Vienna, it offers a place where we can celebrate what reading and literature does for the community. It is a place where people can gather, whether it’s just for pure entertainment, because they’re in a book club, or if they want to learn about something so that they’re educating themselves.”
Independent bookstores, such as Bards Alley, bring communities together, especially a town like Vienna where it is very community based. “I think it’s about, not just the words on the page, but what it does for the sense of community as you connect through books,” said Morrow. “I added the wine bar and cafe because I wanted to have event space where people could linger rather than just come to find books. A lot of our customers say they come in because they don’t even know what book they’re looking for but because we’ve curated the selection for this specific community, and we employ people who really know books, that’s our speciality and that’s what differentiates us from Amazon.” Morrow says people ask her consistently why she opened Bards Alley in the age of the Barnes and Noble Nook or the Amazon Kindle. “I opened the store because Amazon ... doesn’t participate in things that directly impact the community,” said Morrow. “I employ people that live in Vienna and I pay taxes to the Town of Vienna, so it generates a lot of a ‘shop local’ attitude. It’s all about our great customers who give back to the store as much as we give to them.”