- Associated Press - Sunday, December 14, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - It started with a back room that had only a cat and a mountain of cardboard inside.

With a little vision and some elbow grease, Taylor Books has changed that ignored spaced into a used book room.

Joe Solomon, curator of the shop’s latest project, first approached bookstore manager Dan Carlisle with the idea during a job interview.

“Part of his resume said something about running his own used bookshop, which I found very interesting,” said Carlisle, who showed him the room during that meeting.

Solomon, while living in Brooklyn, ran a used bookstore on the Internet.



“I vowed never ever, ever to do that ever again. Because while the books were real, I never met all the people the books were going out to and finding homes with,” Solomon said.

The idea had been “germinating” at the shop for years, Carlisle said.

“We have talked about it and talked about it. Gone through different phases of, ‘Yes, we can do this,’ ‘No, it’s not possible,’” Carlisle said.

The time never seemed righting, Carlisle said, but Solomon was persistent.

Another meeting and one proposal later, and owner Ann Saville had given her blessing.

“I thought, ‘Well, you have to trust people.’ It sounded like a good idea,” Saville said.

There aren’t any other used bookstores in Charleston, Saville said. There hasn’t been one downtown since Trans-Allegheny Books closed its Capitol Street location in 2001.

The idea has seen quite a lot of support from customers, Solomon said.

Stephanie Tyree, a Charleston native and current resident, has been helping stock the shelves once or twice a week.

“When I heard they were looking at starting a used bookstore in Taylor’s, it was just an exciting possibility to me. I wanted to help in any way I could,” Tyree said.

The used book room has benefited from and created opportunity for other store improvements. Shelves sent to the used book room that once lined walls to the café have been replaced by a bar and have made space for a second bathroom.

The room’s initial books came from the Kanawha County Public Library used book sale, as well as community donations.

Taylor Books is still looking for inventory for its January launch, especially Appalachian and West Virginian titles, nonfiction, biographies and essays.

The store in downtown Charleston has regular trading hours on Wednesdays from noon to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Solomon hopes having an actual space for people to browse the used books will benefit the Charleston area’s reading community.

“We want to create a library of beloved books. We think that if we can fill the room with the books that people hold dear to them, then we’ll create a resource that’s really dear to the community,” Solomon said.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette, https://www.wvgazette.com

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