Today’s Spotlight on Bookstores is written by Julie from BookingMama (where BookingDaughter, BookingSon, and Booking PapPap sometimes get in on the blogging, too!). When Julie blogged about an author event at Aaron’s her enthusiasm leapt off the screen. Her essay here mentions how the owners support the local community; they support the online community, too; Aaron’s Books contributes to meaningful conversations on Twitter, and they donated prizes to the participants in our Game On Diet Challenge. If you don’t live near an indie, but you like to support them, consider visiting Aaron’s Books online. Julie drives an hour to visit, we can do it in a few clicks on the keyboard!
I think it’s just wonderful that Dawn has her “Spotlight on Bookstores” feature because it’s obvious to me that there are quite a few hidden treasures out there as far as bookstores go. A case in point: I recently discovered a wonderful bookstore called Aaron’s Books in historic downtown Lititz, PA. Even though Aaron’s Books is almost an hour from my home, I think it is so worth the trip!
Aaron’s Books has been around for over four years; however, it wasn’t until the past few months that I became familiar with the store and all of its offerings. I first became aware of Aarons when they hosted an author reading and book signing for Susan Gregg Gilmore, author of LOOKING FOR SALVATION AT THE DAIRY QUEEN back in June. When I stepped into this quaint shop, I immediately fell in love! It is just chock full of new and used books; and it really epitomizes what a small-town bookstore should be. It even smells just like a bookstore! I could get lost in there for hours just walking around and checking out all of the books and other things in the store; and, of course, I love discussing book recommendations with the owners.
Aaron’s is a family owned and operated business – how refreshing is that in today’s society of huge retailers? The owners, Sam and Todd Dickinson, are two of the nicest and most helpful people that you’d ever want to meet! And if you’re lucky, you just might see Aaron himself. Aaron is Sam and Todd’s young son who was only 2 1/2 years old when the store opened. “He’s really grown up in the store, and of course he loves reading,” said Sam. “People around Lititz don’t always know my name, but everyone seems to know me as Aaron’s mom.”
One of my favorite things about Aaron’s (besides their great selection of new and used books) is their back room which is especially designed for kids. It is just too cute — from the blue sky walls to the white picket fence to the train table and rocking chair. The children’s books are organized by category and in low laying bins so even the youngest readers can check out the selection. In fact, one of Aaron’s Books visions is “to encourage reading and a love of books for children of all ages and levels.” My thoughts exactly!
Like many independent bookstores, Aaron’s Books is very active in their local community. Sam and Todd helped to establish the popular even “Lovin’ Lititz Every 2nd” where all of the downtown businesses are open late the second Friday of each month; and the downtown area is full of music, food shopping and people. The store also hosts many free community events such as author signings, book clubs meetings, and a pre-schoolers’ story time. Aaron even started his own book group over the summer for young readers to discuss popular chapter books. In addition, Aaron’s hosts a “Family Fun Night” with live entertainment as well as crafts, games, snacks and discounts on purchases of children’s books.
Of course, one thing that is near and dear to my heart is getting to meet authors; and Aaron’s has been giving me that opportunity on a regular basis. Over the past four years, Aaron’s Books has brought dozens of local, regional and national authors to Lititz. Besides Susan Gregg Gilmore’s visit in August, Aaron’s also hosted members of the Liar’s Club, a group of prominent Philadelphia-based writers that includes: Gregory Frost, Jonathan Maberry, William Lashner, Jon McGoran, Marie Lamba, and Kelly Simmons. And later that month, I attended an event with Mary Ann McFadden, author of THE RICHEST SEASON and SO HAPPY TOGETHER. The owners of Aaron’s Books intend to have more free community events and author signings in the coming months; and from November 13th to the 15th, Aaron’s will be hosting their very own First Annual Kid-Lit Festival. They are currently planning to have 15-20 authors and illustrators participate at different points during the weekend, with everyone together at a book signing on Saturday afternoon. Tentative authors include: Sandy Asher, Matt Phelan, A.S. King, Ken Munro, and Lisa Greenwald. My daughter and I can’t wait to attend!
I am so glad that Dawn allowed me to share my appreciation (and newfound love) for Aaron’s Books with her readers. I feel so fortunate to have found such a warm and inviting bookstore where I can spend time with others who share my love for books and reading. Aaron’s Books truly is a gem among bookstores in my local area!