The Garage

We’re on Week 258 of the extended break, and parents everywhere are running out of ideas. The solution? Books. All. the. Books. But the libraries are closed, and the Friends of the Library’s June Book Sale was cancelled. But there’s a new kid bookstore on the block, and it’s quite possibly the coolest spot in Cincinnati.

The Garage.

While The Friends Warehouse remains closed (an unfortunate mix of COVID-19 + this spring’s devastating tornado), parents can place orders for curbside pickup at The Garage. The Garage is a pop-up used bookstore, literally set up in the Hartwell Warehouse’s (formerly unused) garage space.

If you follow The Cincy Library Friends on social media (and you should, because their Instagram account is amazing), you’ve probably seen this swoon-worthy new space. It’s an all-white space of carefully curated, color-coded books. At the center is #theivorydesk, an Instagram-worthy photo opp that sits in front of a wall of well-stocked, entirely-white-spray-painted, books. The “Ivory Desk” was created built by Friends Bookseller Bobby Minelli to be a visual symbol of the magic of books (it was also a great way to repurpose old, unsellable books).

The Garage sells bundles of books and popular titles, as well as puzzles and other items. And the prices are second to none: board books are 5 for $5, beginning readers paperbacks are 10 for $10 and hardcover picture books are 5 for $10. All proceeds benefit the library’s summer reading programs.

For those concerned about buying used books, The Garage will immediately put your mind at ease. The Garage Books for the Garage are donated library books, all of which have been cleaned before being sold. Employees at The Garage will also be wearing masks and gloves. (The Ivory Desk is cleaned and sanitized after each visit.) The space itself is small, but open, with its eponymous garage door letting in lots of fresh air and light.

Inventory is featured on their social media channels, and you can place an order via direct message, emailing [email protected] or calling at 513-349-4573. From there, you can set up a time to pick up your books — and touch-less curbside pickup is available. I placed bundle orders for each of my four kids, and was thrilled with what we received. I’d provided some details about my kids’ ages and interests, and the Warehouse staff curated four custom-picked book bundles that were absolutely perfect.

While the Garage is more reminiscent of a cool boutique than used bookstore, Minelli was quick to point out that it’s truly a neighborhood space. The garage door is literally open to the neighborhood, and the “Good Neighbor Shelf” lets kids select free books with each visit. Going forward, Minelli hopes to have community concerts and story times in the space.

The Garage represents everything that’s great about Cincinnati — we are an artistic city, full of hidden gems and people that care. And, we’re actually kind  of cool, too.

The Garage is located at 8456 Vine Street in Hartwell. Right now, The Garage is open from 12-6 pm and Saturdays from 11 am-5 pm, and during the week by appointment (a great option if you want to bring your kids). To make an appointment or for a curbside pick-up, call 513-349-4573 or email [email protected].

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