Blacksburg Books: Strengthening the community one page at a time | lifestyles

Blacksburg Books — a much-needed addition to the previously bookstore-deprived Blacksburg community — is a new independent store conveniently located in downtown Blacksburg. Blacksburg Books sells both new and used books, providing book lovers with the best of both worlds; not only will you get to find some of the latest releases you’ve absolutely been dying to read, but you will also get the added excitement of discovering hidden gems when shopping secondhand.

For those who like to shop for used books, Blacksburg Books has implemented a unique twist for its customers: Blind Date with a Book.

“Our staff go through the shelves and find books that they think might be a little bit unusual that people might not ordinarily select, and then they wrap them in brown paper and they write on the front of it a sort of description of the plot or something that’s intriguing about the book,” said Laurie Kelly, owner of Blacksburg Books.

Blind Date with a Book allows readers to go out of their comfort zone by not being able to see the cover, author or even the title. According to Kelly, her customers love this.

Blacksburg Books sells a wide variety of locally made products, supporting small businesses both in and around Blacksburg.

“We really have a lot of different things now, and we’re adding new items all the time,” Kelly said.

A few popular items sold at the bookstore, according to Kelly, are soaps from The Blacksburg Rose, scented candles from CALI Candles and jewelry from BubbleClayCo.

Blacksburg Books also sells food and drinks that pair well with a good read, including chocolates from Chocolate Spike, coffee and kombucha.

“Our coffee is made in Christiansburg. It’s from Brugh Coffee, and then the kombucha we sell (from Tea Beast Kombucha) is locally made,” Kelly said.

Outside of supporting local businesses, Blacksburg Books has already been involved with the local community within the first couple of months that it has been open through the wide variety of events it hosts, which are all listed on its website.

“I think it’s kind of amazing… all the things we’ve been able to do in the first six months we’ve been open, but we do a book club that we partnered with Moon Hollow Brewing (for); they actually approached us and asked about doing that,” Kelly said. “So you can buy the book at Blacksburg Books, and then some of our staff are present at the book club that meets at Moon Hollow once a month and they give a small discount on food or beverage(s) during the book club.”

Additionally, Blacksburg Books hosts Author Nights to support local authors who will come to the bookstore to read their work and share their experience as writers.

“Sometimes they talk about their books; sometimes they talk about the writing process,” Kelly said. “Some have talked about the publishing process.”

One upcoming event is the Altered Book Workshop, where you can transform pages from old books into an artistic Valentine’s Day-themed craft. As listed on Blacksburg Books’ events page, this workshop will take place on Feb. 11 from 7 to 8:30 pm at the bookstore, with a cost of $20 per person. Treats from Chocolate Spike will be provided.

“We’re partnering with Original Frameworks and New River Art & Fiber on that project, so they’re donating some supplies,” Kelly said. “If you like the thing that you make, Original Frameworks will give a discount on framing it.”

Blacksburg Books has also partnered with the Appalachian Prison Book Project (APBP), an organization that grants books and educational opportunities to people who are incarcerated.

“They receive letters from prisoners asking for a particular book or author or topic or genre,” Kelly said. “This group tries to find a book to match the request, and then mails the book to the prisoner.”

Kelly also explained that APBP previously had trouble locating specific books, so she jumped on the opportunity to get Blacksburg Books involved as an additional source to help meet these requests and support the cause.

“It’s a need that we can help meet, so I’m really happy to be involved in that,” Kelly said.

Blacksburg Books is invested in its community and exists to support all who crave a good read. Both in Blacksburg and around the New River Valley, Blacksburg Books continue to spread the joy of reading.

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