279 Harvard Street
Brookline, MA 02446
Here’s a bookstore that works so well with its neighborhood that a competing corporate chain retailer recently called it quits and closed down. Brookline Booksmith sits on bustling Harvard St. in Brookline, MA. The book store and its owners are involved in the surrounding community, and could serve as a model for civic engagement. They serve as board members of local nonprofits, partner with schools, and host a reading series at the local Coolidge Corner Theater.
Five minutes in this store, and one of the clerks begins handselling me Primo Levi’s short story collection A TRANQUIL STAR. He’s so sincere about it, that I’m curious and I buy it, and then I look around. Customers are milling about the store’s main level, and I find more people downstairs in the used books section.
One of the owners, Dana Brigham, meets me and shows me around. She says that Brookline Booksmith reinvents itself as needed and serves the community by providing life-learning for as many of its customers as possible.
This is so clearly a working model for a book store I ask her if they have considered adding more locations.
She informs me of a second location — Wellesely Booksmith, but shakes her head and says they have, in fact, turned down offers to grow into shopping malls.
A great bookstore that really works!