The Bookstore Turns 50 and Launches Book Fest

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The Bookstore in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2010 and its first book festival June 19.

In honor of their anniversary, The Bookstore has been partying all year. They’ve given away $50 gift certificates monthly, held a scavenger hunt, sponsored a 50-hour read-a-thon to raise money for a local literacy organization, and planned a late-summer birthday party.

“We are proudest of our 50-hour read-a-thon fundraiser for the Glen Ellyn Children's Resource Center,” said Margie White, events coordinator. They hadn’t yet tallied the read-a-thon pledges, but White said, “We do know that our teams were getting very competitive about the Team Spirit Award! Some teams even included the family dog and had fun team names and team member titles (for example ‘The Reading Regatta’ Team had a ‘First Mate!’).”

But the highlight of the year, said owner Jane Stroh, was launching Glen Ellyn’s First Annual Book Fest, spearheaded by White. “We worked with [Glen Ellyn's] local used book store, Bundles of Books, and our Downtown Business Alliance to bring together 30 local authors, each of whom was set up in a retail store downtown,” said Stroh. Elizabeth Berg was keynote speaker of the festival, which included author lunches with Stephanie Cowell (Claude and Camille, Crown) and Marianne Malone (The Sixty-Eight Rooms, Random House Books for Young Readers). At the Malone lunch, kids got to chat and make a craft with the author.

The festival closed with a “Get Lit” party. Stroh said, “We wrapped up our fest with a happy hour at Tap House Grill hosted by Charlene Baumbich, Glen Ellyn’s own, author of the Dearest Dorothy series, and her newest, Stray Affections (WaterBrook Press).”

The 1,200-square-foot store has been in the same location since its opening in January of 1960. “We know that the store was open prior to this, but the history is a bit fuzzy, so we are celebrating this year,” said Stroh, who is the store’s fourth owner. The store has a new blog and Twitter feeds: @justbooks and @suejustbooks.

Stroh started working at The Bookstore in ’85 and bought it in ’97. “Having been with The Bookstore for 25 years, half of The Bookstore's life in this community, I can truly say that every day has been a joy and pleasure,” she said. “I love that we are such a central part of the community, where children and grandmas are welcome, not to mention all the readers and book clubs in between.”