Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Among The Stacks - Mt. Vernon, IA

Among The Stacks - Mt. Vernon, IA

I'm so excited I could pee my pants.  I've been excited ever since I found out the news a few weeks ago.  Regular readers know about the many indies I've had the good fortune to visit.  All with their own stories and history.  But never have I had the pleasure to witness the birth of an independent bookstore. Heck, I was even the first one to enter!  This place is a true baby, an infant.  It  has no history.  It makes Literati in Ann Arbor, Michigan look like an old-timer.  So it gives me great pleasure to announce the opening of an independent bookstore.  I invite all bookstore enthusiasts and indie owners and staffers to use your creative powers of communication and send a congratulatory message to Laura B., the owner at Among The Stacks.

Regular readers also know that these posts may include information about store history, local support, customer base, best-selling sidelines and books, and more.  With Among The Stacks I'm unable to comment on any of these items.  But that's also what's so exciting.  It's going to be fun to watch this store grow, evolve, and ultimately succeed.  And I believe it will.  Among The Stacks is located in a small college town that is already home to a small collection of nice yet diverse shops, restaurants, and watering holes.  In other words, a very cool town.  And in this small, vibrant college town one of the few things missing is an independent bookstore.

The store itself is located in a historic brick building on the main street of downtown.  The first floor is antiques, gifts, and art and the 2nd floor is the bookstore.  There are multiple rooms with different genres in each room.  She has great space in this store but I honestly think she could easily outgrow it.  No café but there is a room where you can have a cup of coffee and sit.  Laura has done a lot of work and research to pull this off.  She's 100% committed but she's also aware of the risks.  I think she's picked the perfect town for her bookstore.  She plans to be very engaged with the community and Cornell College which is located here.  In fact tomorrow, day 2, she's already hosting an author event with Heather Gudenkauf.

This is a cool college town, like many I've been to that have independent bookstores.  If you've never been to Mt. Vernon, put it on your list.  If you live within driving distance you must go.  And how cool is it to talk about an indie opening instead of an indie closing?!  Congratulations to Laura B. and Among The Stacks.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson.  Odd and quirky.  I like it.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Team Of Rivals, Doris Goodwin Kearns.  I've heard good things but this sucker is huge.  Hope I'm up to it.

Before (call this the sonogram!)
After.  Find new and current fiction in this room.  
Same space after opening.  This is kind of a hall area.  The rooms all open off of this area.  
Exterior view of Among The Stacks.  

I was here on Day 1.  This is the ribbon cutting.  The ribbon is made of book pages.  Amy, a staffer, on the left and the owner, Laura B. on the right.  

Laura B., the proud owner of Among The Stacks.  

Follow this sign and proceed upstairs.  

Congratulations to the first two customers in the store.  Visit often and bring your friends!

Some of the sidelines.  

Another display of sidelines.  

This is part of the children's area which is still evolving.  

Every room has different books.  This one features some cookbooks and food books, among other things.  

A great room to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee.  

This use to be a bathroom.  Books in the sink and on the shelves.  And that chair is what I really call a throne!  

Another one of the rooms.  

This room has more books and is also where you'll make your purchase when you visit.  

There are several places to sit here and try out a book.  

Yours truly with Laura B.  Congrats Laura!  


  1. Thanks for the heads-up about the Mt. Vernon book store. I'm in Waterloo, IA and planning a road trip this weekend. Mt. Vernon is officially my first stop and Prairie Lights in Iowa City the second stop. I love the books in the sink as it reminds me of book kept in gondolas in a bookstore in Venice. The midwest (and Venice) is known for being practical.

    1. When in IC also consider checking out The Haunted Bookstore. All used books and another great indie. Thanks for following. Bob

  2. PS, regarding "Team of Rivals", it's thick, but well worth reading. I went to a lecture last October at UNI given by Doris Goodwin Kearns days before the release of "The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism " I was sad when she stopped speaking (at least two hours). She was fascinating and she writes her books as she speaks, engaging. She kept me turning the page (after page) until I finished both. I might add that I got my book autographed and a photo too.

    I love my Nook for travel, but cherish my physical books day-to-day. Keep fighting the good fight. (I quite often have both the actual book and the ebook as I can highlight easier in the actual book)

    1. Thanks for sharing about your nook. I assume that is similar to a Kindle.
      I received an e-mail a while back that libraries were going to implode, that hard copy books would some day be history. I like the idea of being able to underline/highlight, which I don't imagine one can do on any electronic device. Gives me hope that printing presses will continue to roll!

  3. Thanks also for the endorsement for "Team Of Rivals." At some point I'll have to dive in! Thanks for reading and thanks for following. Bob

    1. Bob,

      Laura shared that you were a retired middle-school teacher in the CR area. You look familiar, I don't know if you are someone from the past of my growing up years in MV and CR, or resemble someone I have known since. Where did you teach? I started school in CR, and moved to MV in 4th grade, '55, graduated from the high school bldg. on Main Street, lived in CR a while before traveling to Oklahoma City, and on to Denver for two years. Returned to MV for a year, before enlisting in the Army at age 33! Since I have been on the East coast, with the exception of a year and a half in the 80's in the DSM area. So I have been around, and met a LOT of people. Perhaps I did know you. Laura did share your "hobby" of traveling around to indies. I think that is admirable, time well spent.
      Roberta (Woods) Vaglica MVHS '63.

    2. I didn't start teaching in CR until the mid 80s. In the summers during the 80s I would come over to Mt. Vernon and play in the summer band concerts. Maybe you saw me in a bookstore?!! Thanks for following, Roberta. Bob

  4. The sad thing is, this bookstore closed soon after it opened because of the long commute for the owner and other reasons. A yarn store is now in the space.

    1. I think Mt. Vernon is a great community but is sadly now lacking a very important component. The independent bookstore. Thanks for the comment.