Local residents moved a step closer to their dream of opening an independent bookshop this week when Northcote Books Limited was officially registered as a Society for the Benefit of the Community. The bookshop will operate as a not-for-profit cooperative and will raise its start-up capital by selling community shares.
Shareholder membership will be open to all individuals as well as to local businesses, schools and other organisations.
The new venture promises knowledgeable service, 24 hour order and delivery, a welcoming environment for adults and children, and of course, specially selected new books. It will also host a programme of talks, interviews, conversations and workshops about the written and spoken word on all subjects from arts and sciences to finance, cookery and fashion.
Recent market research undertaken by the campaigners indicates that people in South West London are frequent book buyers for themselves, their children and their friends. Respondents emphasised the need for a welcoming atmosphere, good coffee and space to browse, as well as a good selection of books. Unsurprisingly – since according to the 2011 Census, Battersea is the parliamentary constituency with the highest level of educational attainment in England – the research also confirmed interest in a bookshop that holds a wide range of events.
“We have had terrific support from so many people” said Viv Taylor Gee of the steering committee, ”Some because they want their children to have this unique treasure trove on their doorstep, others because they think Northcote Road is special but still needs a “heart” for the community, and most because they just love reading and the worlds it opens up”.
It is hoped that in an unusual partnership, Northcote Books can be located in Northcote Library, working with GLL who run Wandsworth Library Service to create a new destination that will promote reading, learning and the acquisition of knowledge through good books, literacy, writing and creative community activities.
Diana Edmonds, Head of Libraries at GLL said, “GLL is delighted to be working with Northcote Books – we are all book people and, together, we aim to develop the Library as THE Book Place on Northcote Road!”
The idea of Northcote Books all started back in March when faced by the imminent closure of Bolingbroke Bookshop, 70 people gathered at a public meeting one wet Monday evening.
They vowed to start a community bookshop and now have a group of more than 400 supporters.
Anybody who would like to help get the bookshop off the ground is warmly invited to contact the volunteer steering committee at northcotebooks@gmail. com.