Local bookstore spreads reading spirit


Photo Courtesy of Dawn Kitchell

An independent neighborhood bookstore found a great way to bring a community together with one sole purpose: sharing a love for reading. Neighborhood Reads is a local bookstore located across from the Washington Public Library. Dawn Kitchell, owner of Neighborhood Reads, opened the store in June of 2017.

“[What inspired me was] Years of promoting reading and books in our community and no local bookstore. I really believe in the importance of reading — books and newspapers,” Kitchell said. “I wanted to create a place where our community could find good books, could get recommendations on good books and could gather to discuss good books.”

Not only does the bookstore house hundreds of books, ordering books that are not in the store is also an option. The store takes care of shipping, and the contribution is still local.

“If the community believes in the importance of having a bookstore, they have to buy their books here,” said Kitchell. “Buying online is cheaper, but people in a community have to decide if they want businesses that support our services, like fire and police, support our schools, give jobs to people who live here, or if they want cheap products.”

Community is a big part of the success of a small business, so the people of Washington have a special place in Neighborhood Reads.

“Good books make us think,” said Kitchell. “A community that thinks, especially outside its own box, is a more vibrant, rich community.”

Even though the bookstore opened almost a year and a half ago, Kitchell has major plans and goals for the store.

“It’s pretty simple, I want to inspire people to read,” said Kitchell. “I’m trying to seek out the best books so when people come into the bookstore, they find treasures.”

Neighborhood Reads is located on 401 Lafayette Street and is open every day of the week.

“I want Neighborhood Reads to be more than a store. I want it to be a place people want to come to because of how it makes them feel,” said Kitchell. “I believe we all would love to read if we just found the right book, at the right reading level, on the right topic.”