Bibliophiles rejoice! A new independent bookstore is coming, and we can’t be more excited.
Despite its constant growth and college-town status, Morgantown is missing one thing: independent bookstores offering sizable selections of new books. The most recent ones closed in the early 2000s, and the void has been gaping open ever since.
Lindsey Jacobs has set out to change that with a new and much-needed endeavor that has us making space on our shelves: Monkey Wrench Books.
Jacobs grew up in Hurricane but left West Virginia’s mountains after college. She spent the following decade living in and exploring vibrant downtown areas elsewhere. But that ache for West Virginia was always there, a familiar refrain for many of us. After convincing her husband—a South Carolina native—to move with her back to her home state, they settled here in Morgantown. “I love West Virginia and thought about it every day. We got here and saw endless potential, and we were so excited about that. I lived in these nice places with these nice things, and West Virginia deserves those, too!”
One of those nice things is bookstores, and Jacobs—an advocacy and access director for a local non-profit—quickly became aware of the lack of one in Morgantown. “My most important relationships have been built around books,” she says. “I felt like a bookstore made a lot of sense downtown.” She saw the need for a place to gather, learn, and share ideas, a place to build community and grow together. “If I’m an expert at anything, it’s community-building. It’s what I do. I think books are a gateway to that.” We can’t disagree.
The store will open on High Street this fall and carry mainly new books, though Jacobs understands the importance of carrying used ones as well. “We’re hoping for a lot of books and events around social justice and advocacy,” she shares. “Maybe some book readings and signings. It will be a small, hyper-curated selection. But that allows us to be in a mutual relationship with the community.” Jacobs is also passionate about including Appalachian authors in the mix. “You can’t have a bookstore here without them.”
Any avid reader knows a good book pairs well with a hot beverage, so Jacobs plans to include a counter for refreshments and snacks available for purchase. “We’ll offer high-quality coffee, teas, smoothies, and grab-and-go bites so you can nibble or drink while browsing.” Limited seating will be available if you hope to stay a while.
A labor of literary love, Monkey Wrench Books needs our support. Keep an eye out on its Facebook page for upcoming fundraisers and other ways you can help Morgantown’s newest independent bookstore turn the page from prologue to happy beginning.