Bookstore builds community energy

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Another slate of East Texas authors is on tap for the Bookstore in Kilgore & Coffee Cherry, part of the 1-year-old shop’s mission to become the ‘third place’ for locals.

“What we’re trying to do with the store is make it a community hub,” says Stephen Woodfin. “You’ve got the home and the business, and the ‘third place’ is where you go to hang out.

“We’re encouraging people to come in and have events, make it another place they can be.”

Woodfin, wife Mary Paige and daughter Evangeline hosted the bookstore-coffeehouse’s first anniversary Saturday, one of a myriad of events on the calendar the past month – with more coming up – everything from author signings to a children’s reading hour, a watercolor session and Tuesday afternoon book club.

Today, “Hap & Leonard” novelist Joe Lansdale and his daughter/collaborator, Kasey, will join Longview author Kimberley for a 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. signing. The father-daughter duo has a new collection of horror shorts while Fish will be showcasing her historical fiction about “The Big Inch” and “Harmon General.”

The store’s ‘Water Color Splash!’ circle meets again on the fourth Tuesday of the month with Mary Paige hosting. A knitting class is spooling up, as well.

“We have stuff going on all the time,” Woodfin said, book-oriented or not. “I’m shooting for having an author-signing event every Saturday, if I can,” and he’s reaching out to Kilgore College instructors to present primers on their respective fields.

The Bookstore in Kilgore welcomes grassroots events as well: an upstairs meeting space is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

“There’s no cost as long as it’s during regular business hours,” Woodfin said, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. “We do ask people to contact us and let us know they’re coming so we don’t have the room double-booked.

“Just as a general rule, there’s no fee for most events. We have as many events as we can pack in.”

Find the shop’s evolving calendar at Facebook.com/TheBookstoreInKilgore.

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