Barnes and Noble hosts literacy events

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    TAMARA NATASHA SPENC

    With Alice Walker gazing thoughtfully from the first page, the Barnes & Noble Event Newsletter invites Utah residents to get involved in their literacy program.

    Wade Douglas, manager of the Barnes & Noble store, 330 East 1300 South, in Orem, hopes that people who read the newsletter will begin to take an active part in increasing literacy levels in the community.

    “The Events Newsletter lists all the activities that we have at the store. We have book signings, readings, storytelling times for the kids and workshops. These events are put on to benefit the community,” Douglas said.

    Opening their doors in February of 1995, Barnes & Noble has vigorously sought to turn people on to reading.

    “We have a community relations coordinator and her job is to reach out to the community and provide events for children and adults to increase literacy. All these events are free,” Douglas said.

    In addition to promoting literacy, Barnes & Noble actively seeks to support Utah authors as well as writers nation-wide.

    “Some people will come to us to promote their book and be part of the events. Or we will have a publisher call us saying that the author has requested to come to our store,” Douglas said.

    For the most part Barnes & Noble will try to accommodate the requests of all authors; the famous and unknown both get the opportunity to promote their wares.

    “We don’t shy anyone away if they want to do a reading or book signing. It’s very rare that we say sorry we’re not interested. The exception is sometimes if a person came in before and their signing was a flop we might not hold another event with them. But 90 percent of the time we let people hold an event,” Douglas said.

    While the majority of book signing events are aimed at adult readers, Barnes & Noble has made a consorted effort to involve children in literary activities.

    “We have story time every Saturday for children. The crowds have become so huge that we’ve had to split the session into two times. We get anywhere from 100-200 people attending this event. We’re thinking about doing a week-night story time since this activity has been so popular,” Douglas said.

    The story telling event isn’t the only popular activity that Barnes & Noble hosts to satisfy their customers. Barnes & Noble will also sometimes bring an author back for a second reading or book signing because their event was very popular with community members.

    “On occasion if there is someone locally who we like we will invite them to come to the store to do a reading or something else. We invited James Christensen last year and he had a really good turn out. He was very popular with the people so we’ve requested to have him come in again this year. He will be signing copies of his new book on Dec. 7,” Douglas said.

    While Barnes & Noble makes and effort to promote a diverse array of books, highly controversial authors will usually not be seen in their Events Newsletter roster of writers appearing for a book signing.

    “We definitely want to try and appeal to the community,” Douglas said.

    In addition to authors, Barnes & Noble sometimes invites musicians to come perform at their store to promote new CDs.

    “In June 1996 Linda Ronstadt come and sang some songs from her new CD ‘Dedicated To The One I Love.’ We had over 500 people come to that event and we sold over 250 of her CDs,” Douglas said.

    Unfortunately for Barnes & Noble event enthusiasts, in December the number of activities are reduced significantly.

    “We don’t really have a lot of events in December because we are really busy selling books and helping customers choose gifts,” Douglas said. However, Barnes & Noble seeks to bring the holiday spirit to their store through hosting a few well orchestrated events.

    “We have school kids and community volunteer groups come and sing Christmas carols in December. They fill in the time that would usually be booked up with events,” Douglas said. Students wishing to find out more information on upcoming events at Barnes & Noble can pick up their free newsletter.

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