Some businesses go above and beyond the bottom line and become a part of the community by hosting events, teaching classes and being otherwise particularly welcoming. Locals tend to enjoy these places, as they give back to the patrons, the schools and more. Bookstores can do this by sponsoring local sports teams, promoting local authors, selling locally-purchased goods and hosting community events. The area south of Boston has lost many bookstores in recent years, but it still holds a sprinkling of community-oriented bookstores and a portion of these are involved in their communities in many ways.
Blue Bunny Books & Toys
577 High St.
Dedham, MA 02026
Blue Bunny Books & Toys is a charming shop with a welcoming decor and a full schedule of events. There are the usual book signings and launch parties filling the calendar for visitors. On top of that, Blue Bunny Books & Toys hosts creativity workshops every Monday and Tuesday, though the classes only differ from week to week. In other words, those who miss Monday’s class can come in on Tuesday for the same one. Individuals who would like to throw a party in a bookstore can rent the craft room and Blue Bunny Books & Toys for events.
The Shire Book Shop
305 Union St.
Franklin, MA 02038
The Shire Book Shop is an unbelievably welcoming and accommodating bookshop. Seats and tables are strewn throughout the store, inviting book lovers in to browse or sit and enjoy a read. Shire has more than 100,000 books, wide aisles so everyone has room to maneuver, a children’s section and regular literary readings. It really evokes the qualities of its namesake. This shop even offers a free cup of tea to customers. Try getting that from a chain store. However, the store does not offer elevensies to Tolkien fans, as the name might suggest.
Related: Boston Best Independent Bookstores
82 Central St.
Wellesley, MA 02482
Wellesley Books is a busy local bookshop that hosts events for various age groups several times every week. These events include arts and crafts workshops, author talks, book signings and book launches. The shop also has a book club that meets regularly. With active local author promotions and incentives to read, few bookstores in the area are as supportive of the neighborhoods they serve. It keeps up with local scribes and gives them a place to promote their work, both online and in-store so both locals and visitors from out of town are introduced to them.
Friendly Neighborhood Comics
191 Mechanic St.
Bellingham, MA 02019
Comic book stores are popping up all over the place… or maybe it just appears that way, as they are less affected by the boom in e-books than traditional literature has been. Either way, Friendly Neighborhood Comics is not only thriving, but it is very active. Activities offered by the store include board game nights, card game nights and game demos. Offerings definitely include comic books, but it also sells novels and game needs. Book lovers who have yet to discover what comic book lovers find so interesting about books with comic drawings or graphic artistry should start here.
Bearly Read Books
320 Boston Post Road
Sudbury, MA 01776
Bearly Read Books has more than 40,000 rare, antique and used books in-store. With a catalogue like that, it is already servicing the community by offering up reading materials that are hard to find. However, Bearly Read Books also hosts author events in its cozy interior. Visitors can sit back among the mismatched comfortable chairs, throw rugs and shelves of varying heights while enjoying wine, cheese and book talks.
Related: Best Children’s Book Shops in Boston
Shelly Barclay is a professional freelance writer and amateur author. She writes on a variety of topics from food to mysteries. She loves to share the culture and rich history of her birthplace and home, Boston, with the rest of the world. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.