Left Bank Books has been shortlisted for the Publishers Weekly 2015 Bookstore of the Year Award, which highlights singular achievements in the bookselling industry.
The list, which was released this morning, includes Left Bank Books; Books & Books in Miami, FL; McLean & Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey, MI; Powell’s Books in Portland, OR; and Village Books in Bellingham, WA.
“This past year had been transformative,” said Left Bank Books co-owner Jarek Steele. “Our bookstore has gone from making an indescribably painful decision to leave downtown, to physically transforming our store into what we dreamed it could be, to bearing witness to the epicenter of a new civil rights movement, to having a good year in spite of it all because of the outstanding work of our staff and breathtakingly touching loyalty of our customers.”
In response to the events in Ferguson, Left Bank Books founded #FergusonReads, a monthly reading group designed to add civility and context to the conversation surrounding the protests by exploring race, not only in St. Louis, but in America as a whole. Left Bank also recently gained national attention and input for its Black Lives Matter reading list, a community curated list of books, poems, articles and blog posts that explore race in contemporary America.
“We are so proud to be nominated for this award and to be counted among some of the very best bookstores in the nation,” said Steele.
The winners of the Bookstore of the Year Award will be named at the beginning of April, and awards will be presented at Book Expo America, which takes place May 27-May 29 in New York City.
“We were pleased to have so many outstanding candidates to choose from for the 2015 PW Awards,” said Publishers Weekly Vice President and Publisher Cevin Bryerman. “Each of the stores…on the shortlist have come up with new strategies for successfully negotiating today’s retail landscape for books.”
Left Bank Books was also recently nominated by the Women’s National Book Association for the Pannell Award, which is presented to one general bookstore and one children’s bookstore that employs exceptional creativity to foster a love of reading among their young patrons. Among the 18 nominees in the general bookstore category are Left Bank Books; Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, IL; Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, AZ; and Prairie Lights Books in Iowa City, IA.
“We are thrilled to be acknowledged for our outreach in the community, particularly for our River City Readers and Angel Tree programs,” said Left Bank Children’s and Teen Specialist Sarah Holt.
River City Readers and Angel Tree are projects of the Left Bank Books Foundation. In 2014, Left Bank Books’ Angel Tree Book Drive donated books to all 326 students at Airport Elementary in the Ferguson-Florissant School District, as well as the school’s 17 teachers. Thanks to an overwhelming show of support from customers as far as the east coat, this goal was reached in record time.
“Getting books into the hands of children who might otherwise never get to feel a sense of ownership and pride in their reading is one of the most rewarding things we do, and it’s wonderful to know that the WNBA appreciates all the hard work that goes into making it possible,” said Holt.
The winners will be named in late April, and will be honored at the Children’s Book & Author Breakfast at Book Expo America.