A new community bookshop opened in Cardigan at the week-end in the face of news in the national dailies on the same day that numbers of independent bookshops in Britain have succumbed to the power of online companies and dropped below a thousand for the first time. However, a community bookshop, as this one is, offers more than a straightforward retail experience by taking in and selling second-hand books, and providing a hub for people to meet and talk about reading and writing. And these additional functions are what identifies this as a community venture. A lively crowd gathered for the official opening showing a high level of enthusiasm.
‘It seems almost revolutionary to be opening a bookshop!’ said customer Paul Williams as the ribbon was was cut by author Cynan Jones who congratulated those responsible for bringing it to a reality.
‘A town without a bookshop is somehow unthinkable,’ he said. ‘and this one is intended to be so much more than a shop. Here, stories will be exchanged, and recycled and the place will become a hub of literary interest. Books are artefacts of their day to be used and re-used and we should celebrate this opening.’
Zosia Kobylinska, who spearheaded the action to bring the shop into being, said that the idea came eight months ago, when she heard that Mary and Colin Sullivan, whose bookshop on Pwllhai has served the town for many years, were retiring and the shop would close.
‘The support of individuals, businesses and other organisations has been overwhelming,’ she said. ‘People have given their time, their labour and their support in many ways, and we hope that this place will offer a return to the community in time by providing work experience and training for young people.’
This community support has included discounts from companies for necessary materials, time and expertise from Coleg Ceredigion students who built the shelves, numbers of people who contributed by donating books, Ceredigion Care who enabled locating the prime position shop, and individuals who have given time and energy to sort and price the donated books. Ms Kobylinska personally thanked Jane Husband for her commitment and hard work, and she also thanked Antur Teifi and CAVO for their advice on setting up the enterprise and helping to make it businesslike.