by Chelsea Reid

loy·al·ty. Noun. Defined as ‘A strong feeling of support or allegiance.’ Loyalty is one of mankind’s most sacred and revered traits. Wars have started because of it, kingdoms have crumbled in spite of it. It has made men and women the people they are; it’s saved lives. Loyalty is the driving force behind Left Bank Books’ success and sense of community.

Left Bank Books is an independently owned bookstore locate in St.Louis, Missouri with a cast and varied selection of the printed works. Like most independent bokstores it offers quite a bit and fire in the running of their bookstore. Their mission has always been to offer an intelligent, culturally diverse selection of titles with a focus on politics, contemporary arts and literature, high-quality children’s books, African American interest, GLBT titles and more.

Self declared as a fierce and loyal place, Left Bank Books has managed to cultivate its own group of written warriors known as the Friends of Left Bank Books Literary Society. By becoming a “Friend” customers not only show complete support to Left Bank Books, they also receive wonderful extras like a Friends discount, access to the wildly popular twice-yearly Friends-only sales, and invitations to private receptions with authors.leftbb

Left Bank has managed to truly cultivate its own culturally sound artistic community within their bookstore. Many of the employees and “friends” are involved writers, authors and musicians who are involved in community organizations as volunteers and activists. Issues like peace, racial justice, civil rights, urban sustainability, education, animal rights, and support for the arts are some of the areas in which Left Bankers are involved in.

Like many great independent bookstores, Left Bank Books is a pillar in the community and is no stranger to giving back to the people. This great bookstore reinvests three times more of their revenue locally than non-local chain stores reinvest. As well, they give quite a lot of organic support to grass roots and non-profit organizations through donations of gift certificates, percent of sales, bookfairs and even free event programming.

By producing well over 200 author events a year, Left Bank ensures that authors and readers are able to meet and interact. It is because of these events and several other collaborations with local groups that Left Bank Books have added to a growing literary scene in the St. Louis area, with multiple author events taking place somewhere in the area many nights of the week.

“We are proud to play a part in keeping literature in its rightful place in the local arts scene.”

It’s may have been loyalty that birthed the creation of the “friends” but its care, and love and understanding that has kept Left Bank Books in the hearts and homes of the St.Louis community. For many they have revived the love of books and reading and they have certainly reignited the spark lost in many people who’ve had to deal with large chain bookstores. The Left Bankers are fierce and fiesty, so drop by; they are more than willing to warm the fire in your heart and place a great book in your hands.

Images courtesy of Left Bank Books and Dora Pete

Chelsea A. Reid is currently a senior at Delaware State University majoring in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations/Marketing & Advertising and a minor in Studio Art. She is currently a Marketing intern for Author’s Boutique and is working towards become a successful Public Relations and Marketing Practitioner.