Bookstores and Libraries

Independent bookstores thrive in Santa Fe


It’s easy to see why the City Different is so popular with locally owned, independent bookstores. Ranked no. 6 for book lovers in a national poll conducted by Apartment Guide, Santa Fe draws people who love to read and those who love to write for them. The poll looked at 35,000 booksellers and libraries across the United States to determine the 10 best cities for bookworms in a mix of population centers, college towns and hub suburbs, among others.

Bradley Graham, former Washington Post reporter and editor, and now co-owner of Politics and Prose bookstores in Washington, D.C., says that people love the “quirky personality and warmth of indies.”

He says that running bookstores isn’t easy. “It requires superb customer service, dedicated staff who provide knowledgeable advice about what to read, an inviting environment in which to browse and shop and literary activities that connect patrons directly to authors through book talks and other programming.”

Running bookstores “most of all . . . demands a deep commitment to the local communities that sustain them,” Graham concludes.

In Santa Fe, no store exemplifies that commitment better than Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse, which has been catering to book lovers for 44 years and counting. Owned by Dorothy Massey since January 1996, Collected Works helped bring the inaugural Santa Fe Literary Festival to town and is the official bookstore of the festival. During the festival, it will maintain a kiosk at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, selling books by presenters and others.

The first-ever SFLF “brings a phenomenal array of programs and authors” to the City Different, says Massey, who will oversee the pop-up bookstore at the convention center while maintaining regular hours at Collected Works over the weekend.

“The bookstore will be a central hub, especially on Monday, when attendees may join various authors for walking tours of the city,” Massey says. She notes that most of the tours begin at Collected Works. “Collected Works is a beacon in Santa Fe for all things literary, as is the City Different for readers and writers.”

Here’s how to locate and contact 18 independent bookstores in Santa Fe, with an additional listing of seven museum gift shops that offer a substantial number of books relevant to museum collections. Call before visiting to confirm hours.

Journalists are readers first who love libraries and bookstores. Kay Lockridge is a journalist.

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Santa Fe New Mexican