On July 15, Whitty Books celebrated its fifth anniversary with the sounds of acoustic guitar and harmonica from Rushmore Beekeepers. Whitty Books was founded by Victoria Moore and Julian Delesdernier in 2018, and is now in its second location, which opened in January 2022, in the Kendall Whittier district.
Moore said about the bookstore’s founding, “We lived in the neighborhood, and I lived in the neighborhood as a kid and still longer…The more we thought about it, a bookstore would be a really good fit. And the more we talked about it, the more we kind of realized because my partner and I both come from like retail backgrounds and event planning things. We felt like it was something we could really do and make work over here.”
The solo artist played songs beginnning with “Beneath Our Feet,” with each song inspired by a book the performer has read. For example, “Beneath Our Feet” was inspired by “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel.
The bookstore offered a variety of activities for customers to take home with them. Shoppers could also watch live screenprinting of the Whitty Books merchandise.
Moore said, “We really just want to provide an atmosphere for people. They’re comfortable hanging out. We want to provide interesting programming that’s accessible. We focus a lot on small presses and speculative fiction, andvoices that aren’t always centered in the publishing world.”
Another activity for customers was creating one’s own bookmark. In the back of the bookstore, shoppers could sew their own bookmark.
Rushmore Beekeepers closed out its performance with the song “Hang In There Baby.” Bucky and the Bookworms started its set with “Big Mouthing” in its indie rock style. The band ended the day with the song “Well, well, well.”
Moore, on celebrating the anniversary every year, said, “ We’ve done something pretty much every year. Except for 2020. Obviously, I remember if we did anything in 2021 or not because things were still kind of odd. I’ve done something smaller, but I think every year besides that we’ve done some kind of celebration last year.”
The bookstore going five years strong means a lot to Moore. She said, “You know, if it’s sustainable if you hit five years so that feels big and then just knowing that we’ve blasted five years during a pandemic, this is big too, so I’m proud of what we’ve done a lot.”
Whitty Books also started its own press this year called Horns and Rattles Press, and the business partners will be releasing their first book soon.
More information on the Whitty Books can be found on its website.