Book clubs that meet monthly at Neighborhood Reads bookstore in Downtown Washington are finding creative ways to continue connecting as the COVID-19 outbreak forces people to practice social distancing.
Beginning Monday, March 23, the bookstore will change its operations to limit customers to curbside pickup, local delivery and mail orders.
“Like all business owners, we’ve been wrestling daily with the decision to keep the bookstore open — and what is in the best interest of our community,” said Dawn Kitchell, owner. “We want to keep our community safely reading. Good books can get people through tough times. We know that our little bookstore is important — inside are stories to entertain, enlighten, educate and comfort.”
The Hot Off the Press Book Club is planning a Zoom conference Wednesday, March 25, to discuss this month’s book, “Under the Rainbow,” by Celia Laskey.
The Neighborhood Cooks cookbook club will use a Facebook group to share photos and baking tips of the dishes they would have sampled together in the group’s meeting at the bookstore on April 1.
Missourian Book Editor Chris Stuckenschneider will share her book picks in a live program from the bookstore this Thursday, March 26.
And Neighborhood Reads’ staff has been working this week to package books provided to the bookstore by publishers as advance reading copies. These books will be distributed free with school lunches to help encourage children and their parents to keep reading at home.
The bookstore will use social media to share storytimes, reading suggestions and virtual tours of the bookshelves. Readers can find the bookstore on Facebook and Instagram @NeighborhoodReads for more details.
Staff is maintaining regular hours to help customers by phone, email and to fill orders customers place shopping in the bookstore’s webstore at neighborhoodreads.com.
“On our webstore, a customer can view our inventory to see what is on the shelves to reserve a book — and if they don’t find what they’re looking for, they can order any book,” Kitchell said, “and that order comes right into our store to be fulfilled.”
Neighborhood Reads will close to customer walk-ins this Sunday at 4 p.m. To reach the staff at Neighborhood Reads bookstore, call 636-390-WORD (9673) weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m.
Neighborhood Reads is located at 401 Lafayette St. in Downtown Washington.