Cobble Hill

Homey independent BookCourt expands to upstate NY

Cobble Hill bookstore launches Indiegogo campaign to raise $300,000

May 9, 2013 By Samantha Samel Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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One-hundred-and-sixty miles north of Brooklyn in South Kortright, NY, Bibliobarn is a 3,000 square-foot barn, surrounded by five acres of farmland, that opened as a bookstore in 1996.

H.L. and Linda Wilson, the couple who opened the shop, live on the top floor of the barn and have developed a thriving literary community in the Catskills — but they now plan to move out and sell the space. The folks at BookCourt, the family-run bookstore that’s thrived in Cobble Hill for more than 30 years, hope to buy the barn and maintain its bookish tradition, adding their own flare and establishing what they’re calling BookCourt North: a bookstore, event space, and writers’ retreat.

Upon hearing that Bibliobarn was for sale, the BookCourt team launched an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to raise $300,000 for their project. Zack Zook, who coordinates events and development at BookCourt, and the shop’s manager, Andrew Unger, are spearheading the campaign.

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They plan to open the barn’s ground floor as a bookshop in spring 2014. That summer, they hope to launch an event series both inside the barn and across the surrounding land, allowing for large festivals and events.

Zook told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, “We want to bring a lot of what we’ve done here in Brooklyn to this new property, and also pay debt to the legacy of H.L. and Linda’s beloved destination. Our track record speaks for itself, so this is a great opportunity for the NYC literary community and the upstate creative community.”

BookCourt is especially excited about the prospect of renovating the upstairs of the barn into a residency space for what they call “a fully functioning and professionally managed writers’ retreat/residency.” The loft space is large enough to host at least six writers-in-residence at once, and Zook anticipates the program would begin in the fall of 2014.

While the BookCourt team plans to introduce new concepts, they also remain committed to maintaining Bibliobarn’s established literary community and customer base, and hope that current Bibliobarn customers will collaborate by sharing thoughts and ideas.

It’ll be interesting getting involved in the community upstate and finding people who want to be involved and make the place something so much more than anyone thought possible,” said Zook.

Campaign details and developments will be documented on their Indiegogo page. Any funds raised over $300K will be used to further develop the property.

Zook and Unger hope to hear from the public as they promote and define their plans; they emphasize their desire for BookCourt North to be a collaborative project.

“I think the most challenging aspect of the project foreseen will be actually raising the money,” Zook told the Eagle. “Everything else feels so incredibly natural and organic. We are counting on the people of the book world to see this through!”

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