Main Content

But Do They Have a Library? Or at Least a Bookstore?

Photo of artistic interpretation of Ernest Hemingway's writings.
Photo of teen wearing KV shirt reading on cushioned chair in book shop.

When planning a trip, most people will research the usual spots to visit during their stay- where to eat, where to shop, what to see. My priority when visiting uncharted territory? Libraries and bookstores.

As a self-proclaimed “Book Nerd,” I just can’t help myself. I fully realize when stumbling upon a new library, that I can’t check materials out. I go there to get a better view of the area I’m visiting (and let’s be honest here, I’m also looking to see if they have books for sale.) A city or town’s library can act as a great alternative to a visitor’s center. You can collect brochures, hop on their computer, or chat up employees for their personal recommendations. One of my personal favorites (and now regular stop when passing through) is Three Oaks Township Public Library in Three Oaks, Michigan.

What happens when the libraries are closed for the day? I pull up bookstores on my phone. This has proven to be a dangerous practice- for my wallet and my luggage. I once came home from a trip to Naples, Florida with 19 books. Local bookstores can also provide a snapshot of the area you are visiting. I remember visiting a local book sale and was floored that they had so many bargain priced Stephen King paperbacks for sale. I took my bag of creepy fiction home, and decided to start reading “Cujo.” Eager to dig in, I cracked open the book only to discover that it was in German. Every single book I bought that day was in German! The town we were in was known for having a heavy population of German immigrants.

Libraries and bookstores can be tourist destinations in their own right. Perhaps the building they occupy is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Maybe you heard a rumor that the place is haunted. That’s what drew me to an independent bookstore in Dowagiac, Michigan. Claims of strange phenomena such as misplaced chairs, knocked over books and flickering lights have been reported by workers and customers alike. I didn’t come across any paranormal mischief during my visit, but I did come across a few books begging to go home with me.

I hope the next time you find yourself in a new and unfamiliar place, you consider visiting a local library or bookstore. And if you’re reading this from afar and plan on passing through Jasper County in the future, stop in at one of our amazing libraries and chat with our equally amazing staff. We would love to share our knowledge of all things local with you!