We’ve just passed the two-year anniversary of the opening of Bookmarks, a 4,600-square-foot bookstore off Fourth Street operated by the nonprofit literary arts organization that goes by the same name. Two years past July 7, 2017, it’s been here long enough to have become a downtown anchor, but not long enough for the paint or the enthusiasm to have dulled — nor will it for a long time to come, if ever. The store is well-lit, welcoming, and best of all, stocked with a wide assortment of quality books — something for every reader. The addition of the adjacent Footnote café and event space almost 18 months ago makes the whole package more appealing.
As part of a literary organization that promotes reading and writing, the Bookmarks bookstore supports a vigorous schedule of programming that includes lectures, discussion groups and book signings with prominent local and national authors, including children’s authors. It also partners with other local organizations like the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County to promote joint ventures that improve the quality of our cultural lives.
Burnishing its nonprofit cred, Bookmarks regularly donates new and culturally relevant books to Winston-Salem/Forsyth County public school libraries. “To date, we have donated 10,000 books to 32 schools,” Bookmarks’ executive director, Ginger Hendricks, told the Journal in an email. A new three-year initiative will work to place 25,000 more into these libraries.
Bookmarks’ day-to-day operations are bolstered by the efforts of dozens of volunteers recruited from local businesses like BB&T, Novant Health and the City of Winston-Salem. They deserve a large measure of credit for the bookstore’s success.
With several new luxury and mid-range hotels opening downtown, we expect that visitors will seek unique, engaging destinations within easy walking distance. Bookmarks certainly takes a prominent place on the list.
Bookmarks isn’t the only bookstore in town, of course. They all offer resources, along with our strong public library system, that make life more rewarding in the City of Arts and Innovation.
But Bookmarks has a flavor of its own, enhanced by its mission, its thoughtful selection and its strong organizational talent.
In 2018, Bookmarks received the Reader’s Choice Award for Best Bookstore in Winston-Salem. We won’t argue with our readers. Bookmarks seems to be doing everything right.
“We are consistently grateful for the amazing Winston-Salem community that supports our literary arts nonprofit and independent bookstore,” Hendricks said. “This support has allowed us to increase our outreach to more than 55,000 people annually. It helps us with our goal of igniting a love of reading by connecting people of all ages with books and authors.”
It won’t be long until Bookmarks’ Festival of Books and Authors, a grand celebration of literary arts that takes place every September. Its line-up of events and authors for this, its 15th festival, will be announced later this month.
Bookmarks bookstore is a point of pride for Winston-Salemites, especially readers who look for timely, entertaining and informative books to enrich their inner lives while building community. We wish it many more birthdays.