Internationalist Books and Community Center
, the iconic volunteer-operated bookstore and nonprofit collective, will soon leave its current West Franklin Street location in Chapel Hill for a new location at 101 Lloyd Street in neighboring Carrboro.
The move, says manager Katie Yow, has been in the works for some time. “We've been looking into different options and doing quiet capacity-building work, and this is the first location we've found that seemed like a good fit for both our financial capacity and our goals for a new space for the project.”
The new location, which will be leased from local clothing store The Merch, represents an opportunity to advance both parts of Internationalist Books’ mission—being a bookstore for independently published material and a place for local activists to organize activities. When the opportunity to move was presented to the board of directors, it was, Yow says, “a chance we couldn’t pass up. We wanted to stay in a visible and accessible area and wanted to find a place that would help us expand.”
As anyone who has browsed the bookstore's shelves during its 18 years on Franklin can attest, an increase in room will be welcome. Though the store’s cozy space on West Franklin Street has been conducive to browsing, even the store's most ardent fans will concede that it has not been ideal for the part of Internationalist Books' mission that includes hosting social justice-related events and providing a space for activists to gather.
Though the presently unoccupied space that will soon become the store's new home is only modestly larger than the current location, its layout is more conducive to in-store events.
It “gives us a dedicated area for meetings, groups and events that is set aside from the area that will be the retail space, which is something we'd really wanted,“ Yow says.
The Lloyd Street location will also allow for a significant increase in inventory. “We’re hoping to be able to offer more fiction and even more used books,” she says.
The goal is to be moved by the end of September. That will match up nicely with a number of book-related events in Carrboro, including the Carrboro Really Really Free Market in October and the Fifth Annual Carrboro Anarchist Bookfair in November. Internationalist Books also plans to host UNControllable’s Radical Rush event for the second year.