I had this idea for if I become, mysteriously, independently wealthy.
Open a library/bookstore in a smallish town. One that’s conservative but with an undercurrent of subversive.
Pack the shelves with all kinds of hidden books and authors people would disapprove of. Alongside national bestsellers and personal favorites.
Have a reading nook with a coffee shop.
Offer free showers and short-term accommodation for anyone who needs it.
Have tv’s showing CNN and PBS. And small signs staff can point to that conservative stations are not allowed. Have places away from the tv’s where people can just read.
Have a antitheft system that tracks the books.
Have an airlock style outer door that can be locked in case of emergency or theft.
If someone does steal something, lock the door and talk with them. Find out why. Make judgements based on need.
Which results in complaints from locals. When Timmy brings home some beautifully illustrated reproduction of a grimoire.
And I’ll calmly explain that it has no rating and Timmy must have stole it.
Having talked to Timmy on a previous day about him trying to steal a different book to impress his friends. I substituted it for this one because this one is so much more ‘wicked’ as he put it. But I also told him that stealing is wrong and if his parents find out I will tell them about the theft. But I won’t involve the police.
So when Timmy’s mom, Karen comes by and demands why I sold her precious angel such evil devil stuff, I’ll reply that he stole it.
When she asks if I keep such filth on display where any 12 year old can steal it, I’ll reply that no. Such expensive pieces are kept under lock and key. Timmy is very bright and must have figured it out.
When she demands I do something about such filthy books, I reply that I already have. Having ordered 3 new ones produced, it’s not a lie.
We provide health services and referrals.
We provide security and sanity in a place that runs rife with neither. Especially for those who are different. And when confronted physically, a third of our staff is former military. The rest of the staff are local teanagers/outcasts or former felons. We provide a living wage and college prep/assistance. Health insurance and paid time off. And day care.
What’s the purpose of being independently wealthy if not to change the world we live in for the better.
I would totally visit your bookstore 🙂
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