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The Galaxy Bookshop | An Independent Book Stores Still Shines

The Galaxy Bookshop | An Independent Book Stores Still Shines
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The Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, Vermont

Photo/Art by Julia Shipley
The Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, Vermont

Real books. New books, the kind with covers that feel slightly grainy and have freshly cut pages. In an era when thriving independent bookstores seem just slightly more plausible than a cow jumping over the moon, The Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, VT is celebrating its 25th year.

Tara Goreau's bookstore mural aptly includes the cow jumping over the moon.

Photo/Art by Julia Shipley
Tara Goreau’s bookstore mural aptly includes the cow jumping over the moon.

 

A quarter century ago, Linda Ramsdell opened her tiny bookshop with a gigantic name in the corner of a knitting shop situated in a former fire station. From there it hopscotched around town, until for fifteen years it took up residence in a former bank (where they stored their folding chairs in the old safe).

Then, in mid January three winters ago, with the help of 80 folks who turned out in 20 below zero weather, the Galaxy moved to their current digs on Main Street in Hardwick, right next to the Buffalo Mountain Food Coop. The hardy volunteers formed a brigade to bring the books down the street from the old store to the new.

In Tara Goreau's mural here they are Moving the Store (notice even Mark Twain showed up to help!)

Photo/Art by Julia Shipley
In Tara Goreau’s mural here they are Moving the Store (notice even Mark Twain showed up to help!)

 

Why does the Galaxy continue to shine so brightly? Sandy Scott, who has helped run the store for 13 years says, “I think people want a downtown with character and people they can connect with.” The Galaxy, which is now at the center of Hardwick’s universe of restaurants, clothing boutiques, library and bakery, hosts readings by stellar writers. Novelist Howard Frank Mosher launches all his books here; Yankee writer and author Ben Hewitt, essayist Garret Keizer and poets Leland Kinsey, David Budbill and Galway Kinnell have all repeatedly packed the store with fans, as well.

New arrivals, including poet Leland Kinsey's latest book, Winter Ready

Photo/Art by Julia Shipley
New arrivals, including poet Leland Kinsey’s latest book, Winter Ready

 

During the quieter winter season, The Galaxy hosts “Stories and Stitches” where customers are encouraged to bring in a hands -on project to tackle while listening to a story. This past winter one guy brought his mending, another lady assembled Valentines for her grandchildren, others brought socks- in- progress and half finished sweaters, as they each took turns reading from short story collections, essay collections, and even a picture book.

 

Here is one of the "Bookstore Cats," one of two felines-in- residence that found a new home when the bookstore moved to its present location

Photo/Art by Julia Shipley
Here is one of the “Bookstore Cats,” one of two felines-in- residence that found a new home when the bookstore moved to its present location

Glowing on the wall above the books and customers, a vibrant mural depicts this brilliant fixture of Hardwick’s community. Painted by Tara Goreau, the mural features the migration from the old store to the new, and the cats Scout and Jem (that were adopted by a poet-customer), as well as the neighboring businesses, and the changing seasons, a visual testimony to how over- the -moon lucky we are, and how thoroughly this independent local bookstore continues to illuminate our life.

 

Bookstore manager Sandy Scott sits at the center of The Galaxy

Photo/Art by Julia Shipley
Bookstore manager Sandy Scott sits at the center of The Galaxy

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Julia Shipley

Author:

Julia Shipley

Biography:

Julia Shipley is the author of three poetry chapbooks and most recently, a prose collection Adam's Mark: Writing from the Ox House, supported by a 2010-11 Vermont Arts Council Creation Grant and published by Plowboy Press. Her Vermont Rural Life blog showcases the people, land and community of her unique corner of Vermont-- a mix of mountains and fields, daisies and delphiniums, Holstein cows and eight point Bucks, snowmobilers and cross-country skiers, newcomers and old-timers all making their way in one of the least populated places on the east coast
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