SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif — A neighborhood bookstore is making a big impact on the Barrio Logan community. It’s not just a bookstore but a place where local artists and creatives say they can express themselves and learn more about the Latino community.
Libelula Books and Co. is a woman-owned, bookstore right in the heart of Barrio Logan. In just a few months, it’s become a place for the community to come together for peace and inspiration.
On Friday night at the corner of National and 26th Street, Libelula Books and Co. is holding its first poetry slam with local poets. It’s all a part of the bookstore’s plan to engage with the neighborhood they know all too well.
“Barrio Logan is a very special, incredible, and united community. I really feel just like good food, good books bring people together," said Jesi Gutierrez, Libelula Books and Co., co-owner.
Gutierrez says she saved about $10,000 over five years to open the bookstore and three months ago, she opened its doors. She says as a kid, her mom would drop her off at the library and that’s how her love for reading began.
Now, she wants others in the community to have a similar experience.
“There are so many prolific artists in this neighborhood that we wanted a place where they could come together and feel whole around books and really encourage literacy for the next generation,” Gutierrez said.
The bookstore carries books from self-published, local writers, small press houses, popular books and offers free wifi. She’s also collecting donated computers to help those who may need them.
“One thing that’s happening, especially today, especially right here, especially in this bookstore, is that it’s really fostering the amazing part that community has. That is growing together, creating space and making that available to all people around you,” said Maisha Manson, a San Diego native and poet who now lives in Seattle.
Gutierrez says having this bookstore is a manifestation of the seeds her mom planted in her about the importance of reading.
Now, this bookstore is the seed she’s planting for the entire community.
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