Progress for community-owned bookshop

Progress for community-owned bookshop

Residents of Wandsworth in London have seen their dream of opening an independent bookshop move a step closer this week, with Northcote Books Limited officially registered as a Society for the Benefit of the Community.

The project to establish the co-operative bookshop, which began in March of this year when locals were faced with the imminent closure of Bolingbroke Bookshop, has now gained over 400 supporters.

Viv Taylor Gee of the steering committee behind Northcote Books spoke of the "terrific support from so many people" in the community.

The project has also been boosted by leisure operator GLL, which runs Wandsworth Library Service. It is hoped that the bookshop will be placed in Northcote Library, providing a one-stop destination to promote reading and learning through good books, literacy and creative community activities for local residents.

Diana Edmonds, head of libraries at GLL, said the unusual partnership between the library and bookshop will create "THE Book Place on Northcote Road."

The bookshop will operate as a not-for-profit cooperative, raising its start-up capital by selling shares to individuals as well as local businesses, schools and other organisations. As the 2011 Census found that Battersea is England's parliamentary constituency with the highest level of educational attainment, campaigners feel that there is a real need for a community bookshop here.

Based on their research, which indicates that South West Londoners are frequent book buyers, they plan to create a shop that offers knowledgeable service, 24-hour order and delivery, a welcoming environment for people of all ages and specially selected new books. In addition, it will host a programme of talks, interviews, conversations and workshops on all subjects from arts and sciences to finance, cookery and fashion.

Those who want to help get the bookshop off the ground can contact the volunteer steering committee at northcotebooks@gmail.com or visit the website www.northcotebooks.com. For more information, contact Viv Taylor Gee on 07709 116 163.