2020: Make Reading your New Year’s Resolution

Avatar photo Posted on Dec 10, 2019 by Kelly Mayer

It’s time to set those New Year’s Resolutions. In 2020, consider adding reading to your resolution list. Emporia has its own Indie bookstore, Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore, that will put you on your path to resolution success.

Ellen Plumbs City Bookstore was the original bookstore in Emporia. It was opened in 1870 by Miss Ellen Plumb, who was one of the first two graduates of the Kansas State Normal School in 1867, which had a class of two women that year. “She opened the bookstore and ran it basically until her death,” said Marcia Lawrence, owner of Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore

Lawrence re-opened the bookstore in 2016. When deciding on a name, she came across the name Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore at a presentation. “We have grown from a few shelves of local author’s books to pretty much a full-service independent bookstore,” Lawrence said.

Why add reading to your resolution list

“I think every year New Year’s Resolutions are our attempt to better ourselves and what better way to do that than with a book,” Lawrence said. “People say ‘Oh, I don’t like to read.’ Well, that’s not really true. All that means is that you haven’t found the book that ignites your passion.”

The benefits to reading for children and adults alike are many. In addition to helping reduce stress, books help with literacy skills, especially in children. “One of the things that we all need to consider, especially parents and grandparents or anyone who is ever around young children is that children who are read to from birth acquire a much larger vocabulary by the time they enter school and they will almost assuredly do better in school,” Lawrence said.

Adults get those same benefits, Lawrence said, with the added benefit of escape into someone else’s creation. “When life is tough, read a good book,” Lawrence said. “It’s also something that helps all of us be more aware of facts and that sometimes just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean that it’s true. We can educate ourselves about issues and subjects that we’re interested in. We may not be the foremost expert, but we can become well-informed about things that are important to us.”

Bookstore Services

You know all those services you get at a large, chain bookstore? Ellen Plumb’s can do all that, and you’ll be supporting Emporia’s local independent bookstore. “You can go on our website at www.ellenplumbs.com and you will be looking at the same array of titles that you can get from that big corporate entity online, but you can order them from Ellen Plumb’s,” Lawrence said. “You can opt to pick up and pay in store, you can use your credit card, or you can have them sent somewhere else. We can make it just as easy to order books as the big guys.”

Customers can special order nearly any title that is in print through Ellen Plumb’s. “You can order online, or you can come into the store or you can message us on Facebook or you can call us,” Lawrence said. “At any given time, we have two or three shelves behind the counter that are filled with books that have been special ordered.”

If you’re looking for audio books, you can do that through https://libro.fm/ and choose Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore as your bookstore home. “The sales of audio books via Libro support independent bookstores,” Lawrence said, adding that the book selection is nearly identical to the other major provider of audio books.

Supporting the Community

When you shop local and shop small you impact your community. Lawrence is paying that forward with the goal to be a clearinghouse for the community.

“We’re a drop off place for various food drives, supplies, that type of thing,” she said. “We are just setting the CASA Christmas Tree up. This will be our 4th year doing this. This is an opportunity for the community to come choose a child and buy a book or books for that child. These are foster children. Many of them carry their belongings from home to home in a trash bag. And they have very few things that are their own. A book is small, it takes them out of their world into a whole new world.”

Another way Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore supports the community is through their Buck Books, which sit on a trolley out in front of the bookstore. Each book on the trolley is $1 and the money used benefits local charities and individuals. “That’s a way that we can actually give money,” Lawrence said. “Because that’s what an institution needs. It’s nice to get gifts in kind, but money is what they really need.”

Bookstore Events

Ellen Plumb’s serves as a community hub around not only reading, but for many community events. Several book clubs meet at the bookstore from New Adult/Young Adult to a social justice book club.

The bookstore hosts a Second Saturday Silent Book Club. The book club is hosted every Second Saturday (Dec. 14 this month) from 2:00 to 4:00 pm.

“It’s simply quiet time to reading that people can schedule and you simply come to the bookstore and you don’t even have to talk to anybody,” Lawrence said, adding that there is a short discussion time before and after the scheduled reading period.

Other events include First Friday, which includes an open mic, the bookstore’s signature event.

“We host local and regional authors with readings and book signings,” Lawrence said. “We bring people in from all around the community to talk about various items of interests including social issues, maybe travelogues, any number of things.”

The bookstore also hosts other events including Sway Testing, chair yoga, a place for knitters and crocheters to meet and a host of educational events.

More upcoming events can be found on Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore’s Facebook page.

Contact Information

Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore
Address: 1122 Commercial St., Emporia, KS 66801
Phone: 620-208-BOOK (2665)
Facebook: @EllenPlumbs
Website: www.ellenplumbs.com
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

After this interview was completed and the story was written, we received the unfortunate news that the store will be closing at the end of next month. Please get out and support Ellen Plumb’s while you can.

December 6 Facebook post:

“It is with much sadness that I announce the closing of Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore on January 31, 2020. I am truly grateful for all you book lovers who have made the bookshop a comfortable, interesting, and safe ‘third place’. Because I am unable to find an affordable and appropriate permanent location for the bookshop, it must close. I hope with all my heart that someone will step up to keep a bookstore in our town. Thank you from my heart for your patronage these past three-plus years.”

Avatar photo

Kelly Mayer

Public Relations Manager at Visit Emporia



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