Delaware / Events

Delaware Art Museum leans in as an indie bookstore

With the independent bookstore landscape decimated, one local institution is stepping up with free literary programming for both readers and writers.

A Delaware Art Museum gathering. (Courtesy photo by S.Woodloe for Delaware Art Museum)

When Wilmington’s 9th Street Bookshop shut down after 41 years in 2018, it left a void in the city’s lit scene. Sure, in this digital age, we can download most books online, but independent book stores like 9th Street — and Acorn Books in Smyrna and Newark’s Bookateria, which also shut down over within the last couple of years — are more than a place to purchase books. They’re places to discover lesser-known books and, perhaps more importantly, gather to talk about them.

As those institutions fell, the Delaware Art Museum became home to the only independent bookstore in Wilmington proper, and one of the few left in the county. And, aligning with the museum’s recent commitment to serving the community in an inclusive way, it started to carry a selection of indie novels by underrepresented authors as well as art books featuring artists represented its exhibitions.

This year, it’s also started to offer free literary programming for both readers and writers:

  • A chapter of the Well-Read Black Girl Book Club in partnership with the American Booksellers Association and One Village Alliance. Hosted by One Village Alliance founder Chandra Pitts, the monthly gatherings discuss Young Adult books that are available for purchase at the Museum Bookstore. Designed for ages 13 and up. The next gathering is one Dec. 12.
  • DelArt Readers, a monthly book club discussing literature connected to art, often drawing on the museum’s collections and special exhibitions. The next club meeting is Jan. 30.
  • Wilmington Writer’s Conference in 2020, preceded by the End of Year Writers Gathering and Open Mic on Thursday, Dec. 12 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., featuring slam poetry, readings and more.

Book Club attendees also get 20% off selected books.

For more information, see the museum’s programming calendar.


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