Bookstores, Libraries, and Festivals and The Great American Read

May 21, 2018

THIRTEEN loves bookstores, libraries and book festivals. We’re pleased to be partnering with the following businesses and organizations in support of The Great American Read, a national PBS campaign to encourage everyone to read and talk to each other about favorite novels and writers. Partners will be hosting events, distributing giveaways and premiums, participating in special promotions and contests, and getting their customers to TALK, READ, and VOTE for their favorite novel all summer long and into the fall. Be sure to visit and tell them The Great American Read sent you! They’ll have recommendations, but here are our six reading lists, based on how you like to spend your summer.

Jump quickly to the area you’d like to visit by clicking on the area name:
The Bronx
New Jersey
Long Island
Westchester County
Ulster County

The Bronx

Bronx Book Fair

The Bronx Book Fair is dedicated to engaging and growing the community of poets and writers in the Bronx and to connecting to readers and book lovers of all ages. The Bronx Book Fair is the borough’s premiere literary event and features a variety of diverse literary voices. This past May the fair was held at the Bronx Library Center and welcomed Keynote Speaker Noëlle Santos, owner The Lit Bar, special guest poets Willie Perdomo and Sokunthary Svay, children’s book author Tiffany Papageorge, and held readings, workshops, panels and family programs.


Brooklyn Public Library

The Brooklyn Public Library. Patrons can access the library’s vast collection of more than four million materials in over 100 languages on whichever printed or digital platform they choose, whether at home, standing on the subway platform, or visiting one of its 59 branches in nearly every neighborhood. The central location is at Grand Army Plaza, across the street from Prospect Park and down the block from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Brooklyn Museum.

Bookmark Shoppe

Bookmark Shoppe in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

The Bookmark Shoppe in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Photo courtesy Bookmark Shoppe

The Bookmark Shoppe is an independently owned bookstore located in a community of readers in Bay Ridge. The Shoppe is stocked with the classic books our neighbors know and love, with newer picks waiting to be fallen in love with. Building lasting bonds in our community through support of local organizations and hosting community events has helped keep the store going for the last 16 years.

Books Are Magic

Books are Magic store on Smith Street in Cobble Hill.

Books are Magic store on Smith Street in Cobble Hill. Photo: Michael Chin

Books Are Magic is Cobble Hill’s new independent bookstore specializing in new fiction, nonfiction and kids books. Co-owned by author Emma Straub and her husband Michael Fusco-Straub, the store is their third child.

Brooklyn Book Festival

The Brooklyn Book Festival.

The Brooklyn Book Festival.

The Brooklyn Book Festival includes a full week of Bookend events, literary special events curated with presenting partners including international cultural embassies, publishers, bookstores and institutions such as PEN America, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and Poets House, among others. Venues across all five boroughs include bookstores, parks, bars, bakeshops, ferries, libraries, each hosting national and international authors in programming ranging from trivia nights, poetry slams, and workshops to prose and flash fiction readings, books-to-movie events, and debates. The festival takes place September 10–17 in 2018.

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Greenlight Bookstore

Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene

Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Photo courtesy Greenlight Bookstore.

Founded in October 2009, Greenlight Bookstore is a general independent bookstore with two store locations in the heart of Brooklyn. Through knowledgeable staff, curated book selection, community partnerships, and a robust e-commerce website as well as beautiful bookstore spaces on Fulton Street and Flatbush Avenue, Greenlight combines the best traditions of the neighborhood bookstore with a forward-looking sensibility. Greenlight has garnered local, national, and international press coverage for its innovative startup model and its continuing success. In addition to partnering with venues such as Kings Theatre, St. Joseph’s College and the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Greenlight hosts literary events in the store several nights a week.


New York Public Library

The New York Public Library has been an essential provider of free books, information, ideas, and education for all New Yorkers for more than 100 years. NYPL is the nation’s largest public library system, featuring a unique combination of 88 neighborhood libraries across the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, as well as four scholarly research centers, including the landmark building (the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building) at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.


bookbook is a bookstore in Greenwich Village in New York City.

bookbook is a bookstore in Greenwich Village in New York City. Photo courtesy: bookbook

bookbook is an independent general bookshop in the heart of Greenwich Village, carrying recent and backlist fiction, children’s books, travel, history, drama, cookbooks, art and fashion books, and other subjects.

Book Culture

Book Culture store facade.

Book Culture store facade on 536 West 112th Street. Photo courtesy Book Culture.

Book Culture is an independent bookstore with four locations in New York City, including two near Columbia University and one on West 82nd Street and Columbus Avenue. For more than 20 years, Book Culture has curated a wide array of books for the whole family. It hosts book clubs and author readings throughout the year, for scholar and toddler alike.

Shakespeare & Co.

The sidewalk view of Shakespeare and Co. on the Upper West Side of New York City.

The sidewalk view of Shakespeare and Co. on the Upper East Side of New York City. Photo courtesy of Shakespeare and Co.

Shakespeare & Co., the iconic independent bookstore, offers the perfect trifecta of community, culture and technology, with a well-stocked and exquisitely curated fiction, nonfiction and children’s book offering, an intimate literary café with seating and wi-fi, and the Espresso Book Machine, a revolutionary print-on-demand technology. Located on Lexington Avenue and 69th Street, Shakespeare & Co. has become a cultural hub, with literary events, book clubs, and writing workshops, personalized books for children, and the possibility to print almost instantly from a vast catalog of titles. Shakespeare & Co. plans to open two new bookstores in Manhattan and one in Philadelphia in 2018.

Sister’s Uptown Bookstore and Cultural Center, Inc.
Photo Credit: Dwight J.

Sister’s Uptown Bookstore and Cultural Center

Sister’s Uptown Bookstore and Cultural Center has been a community hub for the exchange of information and ideas for the last 18 years. It carries all genres of books, specializing in African Diasporic Literature, gift items, greeting cards, artisanal bath and body products and so much more. It loves to showcase the talents of the vibrant community residents in Harlem through poetry, live music, workshops and lecture series.


The Strand bookstore on Broadway and East 12th Street.

The Strand bookstore on Broadway and East 12th Street. Photo courtesy the Strand Book Store.

Located on 12th and Broadway in New York City, Strand Book Store is a family owned, iconic literary destination with more than 90 years of history and 18 miles of books to prove it. Its unparalleled inventory of 2.5 million new, used and rare books and locally designed totes, gifts and apparel makes it easy, and exciting, to get lost in the stacks.

Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria

Inside the Word Up! bookstore

Inside the Word Up! bookstore. Photo: Word Up!

Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria is a multilingual, general-interest community bookshop and arts space in Washington Heights, New York City, committed to preserving and building a neighborhood in which all residents help each other to live better informed and more expressive lives, using books as an instrument of reciprocal education and exchange, empowering not only themselves, but their community. Word Up is operated by a volunteer collective of 60+ neighborhood residents. By hosting readings, concerts, screenings, art exhibitions, talks and workshops, community meetings, and other activities for kids and adults, Word Up does its best to support and fortify the creative spirit unique to our diverse, uptown community.


Queens Library

Queens Library logoThe Queens Library serves 2.3 million people from its 62 locations plus seven Adult Learning Centers and two Family Literacy Centers and circulates among the highest numbers of books and other library materials in the country. The library will be hosting screenings of film adaptations of some of The Great American Read titles as well as book talks.

Queens Library Magazine combines library-themed feature stories and two months’ worth of information about free programs, services, and special events, and it’s available online and at Queens Library branches. The May/June 2018 issue includes author Jason Reynolds, whose book Ghost is on the Great American Read list of America’s most-loved novels. Speaking on behalf of funding for New York City’s libraries, Reynolds issued an appeal in May that included his observation, “No one becomes a writer without first getting lost in great books. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t had public libraries to support me.”

Astoria Bookshop

Astoria Bookshop interior.

Astoria Bookshop interior. Photo courtesy Astoria Bookshop

The Astoria Bookshop is an independent bookstore in the heart of Astoria, Queens, owned and operated by book industry veteran Lexi Beach. The 1,000 square foot store, which was a finalist for Publishers Weekly’s 2018 Bookstore of the Year, opened in 2013. As a small store serving a large and diverse section of New York City, the Bookshop strives to provide the neighborhood with curated selections and events programming that educate, entertain, and provide a sense of community.

Book Culture

Book Culture is an independent bookstore with four locations in New York City, including on Jackson Avenue in Long Island City. For more than 20 years, Book Culture has curated a wide array of books for the whole family. It hosts book clubs and author readings throughout the year, for scholar and toddler alike.

Turn the Page…Again!

Turn the Page...Again! awning in Bayside, Queens.

Turn the Page…Again! awning in Bayside, Queens. Photo courtesy of Turn the Page…Again!

Turn the Page…Again! is an Affirmative Business program initiated in February 2010 designed for individuals with a mental health diagnosis and operated by Transitional Services for New York Inc. (TSINY), a not-for-profit organization. It offers competitive employment positions, as well as training to expose individuals to the world of work. It also offers a wide range of gently used books for children and adults, which include mysteries, fiction, classics, history, romance, cookbooks and more. Stock includes contemporary titles, as well as hidden gems.


Westchester Library System

Westchester Library System (WLS) collaborates with 38 libraries in Westchester County to provide access to resources and services and to enhance and support library service for the more than 940,000 residents. It is one of New York State’s 23 public library systems which were established in 1958 by State Education Law.

Eastchester Public Library

The Eastchester Public Library serves the community of Eastchester as well as neighboring communities in Westchester County. The library offers equal access to materials in a variety of formats and provides programming to meet the educational, recreational and cultural needs of people of all ages. The friendly library staff is committed to serving all who enter its doors.

Mount Pleasant Public Library

The Mount Pleasant Public Library strives to be a warm and welcoming center of discovery: through books, media and programming it hopes to connect people to ideas, and to each other, in order to enrich their lives and the overall life of the community. The Library is a joint municipal library supported by the Town of Mount Pleasant and Village of Pleasantville. The Main Library is located in the Village of Pleasantville, and the Branch Library is in the Town of Mount Pleasant Recreation Center in Valhalla.

Scarsdale Public Library

Since 1928 the Scarsdale Public Library has served as a community space for reading, reflection, research and more. This summer the library is beginning a major renovation to ensure it can fulfill our mission for generations to come. See the website for its temporary location at Supply Field. It is excited to participate in The Great American Read by sharing information with the community and including selections in Nancy’s Book Group beginning in September.

Long Island

Nassau Library System

The Nassau Library System is a cooperative library system comprised of the 54 independent, autonomous public libraries of Nassau County, New York. Its mission is to support and strengthen member libraries as they provide outstanding service to their communities, and to encourage equitable access to library collections and services.

Baldwin Public Library Logo

Baldwin Public Library

The Baldwin Public Library serves the 32,000 residents of one of the most diverse communities on Long Island. The library is the heart of the community – a place where people can connect with each other and discover more about themselves through resources and programs in a welcoming, comfortable environment. The library will celebrate its 100th anniversary in October 2019.

Bayville Public Library

The Bayville Free Library serve the Village of Bayville. With a unique location in a quaint beach community on the North Shore of Long Island, it strives to provide the community with an ever-growing collection of programs and resources to educate and entertain. Established in 1903 above a tackle shop, the library is now located in the former stables and garages of the estate of Harrison Williams. Harrison Charles Williams (1873-1953) was an American entrepreneur, investor, and multi-millionaire. From Storytime by the Bay to yoga and everything in between; the library serves as a community center for this unique and wonderful village.

Bellmore Memorial Library

The Bellmore Memorial Library is a medium size public library that has served the Bellmore community since 1948. Its mission is to be the information and communication center of the community where people, ideas and knowledge come together in a common space for the purposes of lifelong learning. The library is so excited to be a part of The Great American Read, a project which aligns with and strengthens its mission.

The Farmingdale Public Library is ready for The Great American Read with this great display.

The Farmingdale Public Library has a display for The Great American Read.

Farmingdale Public Library

In Farmingdale in Nassau County, The Farmingdale Public Library aims to enhance the cultural, recreational and educational needs of all the community by serving as a center for print and non-print materials; facilitate access to information and knowledge through cooperation with other libraries and educational institutions; and provide meeting space for local groups and organizations interested in the cultural, recreational and educational development of the citizens of the community. The library was first established in the Kolkebeck House in 1923 by the Women’s Club of Farmingdale and other community organizations.

Freeport Memorial Library

The Freeport Memorial Library is a vital center of knowledge for all, providing traditional and innovative library services consistent with the diversity of the Freeport community.

Hempstead Public Library

Hempstead Public Library

The Hempstead Public Library is a village library in the Town of Hempstead, the largest township in the U.S. It serves a culturally diverse community of over 55,000. It provides high-quality customer service in order to fulfill the informational and educational needs of its patrons, as well as enriching lives by serving as a gateway to great literature, media, and programming.

Jericho Public Library

The Jericho Public Library is committed to remain in the forefront of providing excellence in educational, informational, cultural and recreational enrichment in the service of all members of the Jericho community. Its mobile app allows patrons access to its Online Services 24/7. Search its catalog, view your account, browse the Library Newsletter and use its downloadable and streaming services anywhere. Also, patrons of all ages may enjoy movies, concerts, lectures and family oriented programs.

Merrick Library

Merrick Library's display for The Great American Read.

Merrick Library’s display for The Great American Read.

The staff at the Merrick Library believes libraries transform communities. The library and staff provide access to a variety of programs, resources, and technology to promote literacy, culture, and lifelong learning. It invites the community to vote for their favorite book on The Great American Read list. The book receiving the most votes will be chosen for the library’s October Book Discussion.

Mineola librarycard

Mineola Memorial Library

The mission of the Mineola Memorial Library is to provide outstanding service in order to fulfill the educational, informational, and recreational needs of the residents of Mineola. The library has organized a rich calendar of summer events – from film nights to Zumba to memoir-writing classes and more.

Seaford Public Library

The Seaford Public Library encompasses the hamlet of Seaford on the South Shore of Nassau County, Long Island. SPL hosts a very popular outdoor Annual “Entertainment for a Saturday Evening” series including four musical concerts, a Comedy Night and a family-oriented Movie Night and a popular Spring Speaker Series. The SPL has an enthusiastic and friendly staff, a dedicated Board of Trustees, as well as a vibrant Friends of the Seaford Library group. The SPL also currently hosts three very popular book discussion groups on both fiction and non-fiction works throughout the year.

Syosset Library

Syosset Public Library continues to be a destination location for its residents with its spacious, modern, and comfortable surroundings. It reflects the high standards of the community by maintaining a quality collection and cultural and entertainment opportunities for all ages. With worldwide electronic resources and an expert service-oriented staff, the library provides the newest and best reading materials, noteworthy music, movie, non-print items, a library podcast called “Turn the Page”, and streaming services, which meet the diverse needs and tastes of the community.

Suffolk County

Sachem Public Library

Sachem Public Library in Holbrook, NY, on Long Island is one of the largest school district libraries in New York State outside of New York City. Its roots go back to an 18-book women’s suffrage collection in 1914. The library has a display of nominated books on The Great American Read list and will incorporate the novels in its summer reading program for adults and teens. If you read five books on the list, you can win a prize!

New Jersey

Bernardsville Public Library

The Bernardsville Public Library in Bernardsville, N.J. is the cornerstone of its community. It is a stand alone library that offers essential services not only to its town but to other surrounding communities as well. Patrons explore the world through books, online resources, and dynamic series of presentations, events and programs.

Scotch Plains Public Library

Scotch Plains Public Library is a small suburban library in Central New Jersey, and is delighted and honored to host The Great American Read. Scotch Plains’ Great American Read will happen within the library and beyond library walls. Look for the library wherever people gather – at local farmers’ markets, town concerts and fairs – where it will serve up books along with bagels and literary-themed desserts; participants will share favorite titles on buttons, in make-your-own notebooks, and in lively conversation with fellow readers. Keep current as the library adds related events.

West Orange library logo

West Orange Public Library

The West Orange Public Library in West Orange, NJ, provides a stimulating and supportive environment for lifelong learning, literacy and the enjoyment of reading through free and open access to relevant collections and engaging programs. The schedule for the Book Discussion Group for adults through August 2018 is the first Monday of the month at 1:30pm.

The library invites people to come to library to vote for your favorite book on the Great American Read list, starting May 23. (Note the library is closed Sundays from May 27 through September 9).


words! bookstore

The words! bookstore in Asbury Park, NJ.

The words! bookstore in Asbury Park, NJ. Photo courtesy words! bookstore.

words! bookstore is a quirky, independent bookstore that matches the artistic, free-wheeling vibe of its location in Asbury Park. The bookstore is carefully curated with a range of fiction and non-fiction, new and gently read books, that even the most discerning reader will find amazing. Because of their intuitive, spot-on suggestions, the staff has been described by the community as “literary masterminds.” Look for the display of titles from The Great American Read!

Ulster County, NY

Wallkill Public Library logo

Wallkill Public Library

The Wallkill Public Library is in the process of organizing a book club to coincide with The Great American Read series. If you would like to participate, contact Lisa Palmer at In addition to serving as a lending library, the library has a non-circulating Local History Collection related to the history of the Hudson Valley and Ulster County, with an emphasis on the Town of Shawangunk, New York (make an appointment at least 48 hours in advance to visit the collection).

Once you’re certain of your favorite novel on The Great American Read list of America’s best-loved books, it’s time to vote!