Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day Expands Its Reach

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It’s been a year since the first Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day (TYCBD), and Jenny Milchman, the creator of the event, has been busy preparing for the second, which will take place this Saturday, December 3. As a way to drum up support and expand the reach of the second annual TYCBD, Milchman and her family went on a cross-country bookstore tour to promote the day. They visited a total of 60 stores, and all were extremely receptive to the idea of TYCBD.

“One of the biggest pleasures of our cross country trip was getting a roadside view of the state — and the art — of bookselling circa 2011,” said Milchman. “We saw new stores opening, and flagship stores unveiling second branches. We spoke to booksellers who said that their stores are hubs of their communities, drawing in book clubs, writing groups, and even home-schooling meet-ups and religious circles for regular meetings at the stores. We saw bookstores packed and lines at the registers. And mostly, we experienced the great sense of joy that comes of so many people surrounded by books.”

Milchman also mailed posters and bookmarks to stores that expressed interest and made several phone calls to stores she could not visit in person. In just a year, TYCBD has grown from a celebration in 80 bookstores in 35 states to almost 250 bookstores in 45 states as well as one bookstore on the Gold Coast in Australia.

“I really couldn’t be happier with how the day went last year,” Milchman said. “It took off like wildfire as if family members and friends and teachers everywhere just understood why the experience of being in a bookstore is so important to offer to children.”

Milchman’s goals for this year are to gain participants in the few states that haven’t yet joined, as well as get some of the bigger indie bookstores on board.

“Ideally, there would be a bookstore within driving distance of every kid in the United States,” she said. “I guess you could say that is my ultimate goal for the day — that it will serve as a beacon to people, emphasizing the importance and joy of bookstores, so that it ripples through to other days throughout the year, until the demand is great enough that no community feels complete without a bookstore. To me and my kids, they are as essential as the supermarket.”

Milchman is already planning for next year’s events, focusing on getting the word out to parenting blogs and publications that serve various communities. Eventually, she said, her hope is that the first weekend of December won’t even stand out anymore, because “every day will be Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day.”

Milchman encourages booksellers to add their stores to the TYCBD map and to spread the word by displaying the TYCBD image on their website or blog.