Supporting Our Community
For the past sixty years, Brookline Booksmith has made a home in Coolidge Corner, setting down roots and becoming a true fixture of the area alongside beloved neighbor businesses, like the Coolidge Corner Theater. As a community bookstore our hope is to be a bedrock for our patrons, a place to gather but also a place to be formed, altered, created anew. We aim to provide a haven where people can join together to share time, space, ideas and, most importantly, to be the beneficiaries of each other’s curiosity. Our bookstore is a place where meaningful and real conversations take place daily. When someone discovers something on our shelves—a new book, a new author, a new set of beliefs—that discovery has the possibility to radiate out into that person’s life in astonishing ways.
Community begins in the local: Brookline and the greater Boston area have welcomed us into their histories, and the people that live here have been the lifeblood of the store both materially and spiritually. The rich individuality and diversity of our community has inspired us to be more attentive and caring as a business, as we strive to attend to the wishes of everyone who walks through our doors.
When we talk about community, we mean more than just the physical place we call home. After the challenges of 2020, we were lucky enough to be reminded of how expansive our community really was. Online orders, memberships, and notes of gratitude poured in from across the country, and even the world: folks who’d grown up in Brookline and moved elsewhere who carried their first home bookstore in their hearts, as well as those who’d never gotten the chance to visit our store in person all showed up to voice their support in whatever way they could and kept our store strong. When we talk now about community, we know all of those people are there, too. It is a community of readers and dedicated patrons, of authors and artists, of former staff members and one-time customers. It is booksellers and store owners across the country, who know that we must always support one another. Community is a mutual responsibility, a mutual belonging, that persists across all kinds of distance. And like all belonging, it takes real work to maintain.
As part of this ongoing work, over the decades we’ve partnered with other stores, book clubs, teachers, librarians, senior citizens, and local organizations to reinforce the bonds that make up what we mean when talk about community, and to better achieve their vital missions. We also offer book donations for underserved populations and significant discounts for surrounding schools. Read more about some of the great folks we partner with below:
Boston Public Library / Brookline Arts Center / The Brookline Chamber of Commerce / Brookline Music School / Coolidge Corner Theater / GrubStreet / Rian Immigrant Center / WBUR / WGBH / WUMB / Boston 826 / The Public Schools of Brookline / Roxbury Prep
Our Community Impact Program
In 2020, we decided to dedicate more time and resources to focus on the ways that Brookline Booksmith can be a meaningful part of that community that has for so long made the store’s success possible. The result, our Community Impact Program, is an ongoing effort to raise funds for local nonprofits playing a vital role in our community.
We know our customers and patrons to be incredibly generous, and the program is designed around the deeply held belief that generosity can make a difference when pointed toward real need. In particular, we aim to provide a platform and material support for underserved and diverse populations, those hit hardest by the ongoing pandemic, and folks in need in our local community.
So far, with deep thanks to our big-hearted customers, we have had the following impact on vital community organizations through our fundraising efforts.
- Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) – in honor of Independent Bookstore Day 2021 and 2022, provided $1.2k to help booksellers and bookstore owners with unforeseen emergency financial need.
- The Brookline Center for Community Mental Health – over two years, provided 220 care visits to uninsured community members experiencing poor mental health or impaired wellbeing and 150 hours of clinical support services to help children in need regain mental health and stabilize families in crisis.
- Brookline Food Pantry – over two years, provided eight weeks of emergency food assistance to Brookline families struggling to make ends meet each week.
- Brookline Teen Center – supported almost six months of Supper Club Thursdays, at which high school teens gather for dinner, conversation, and community.
- Brookline Senior Center – provided older/socially isolated adults living in Brookline with 100 delicious meals, 50 rides to medical appointments, and support for music/arts & crafts programs.
- Center for Reproductive Rights – in a single-day fundraiser in conjunction with a reproductive justice author panel and discussion, supported the power of the law to advance reproductive rights as fundamental human rights worldwide.
- GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) – advanced the rights of the LGBTQ+ community and people living with HIV, including locally working on the MA Parentage Act and MA PrEP Access Act.
- Rian Immigrant Center – assisted 55 immigrant & refugee families with confidential counseling and case management services with Rian's social workers.
- Speak for the Trees, Boston – provided 31 trees to increase the tree canopy in underserved Boston neighborhoods.
- Steps to Success – provided materials for 27 after-school programs in arts, S.T.E.M., or financial literacy to the 300 Steps students, all from low-income families in Brookline.
We have ongoing conversations with several other groups to support moving forward.
Contributions to our Community
Brookline Booksmith also sets aside funds every year to make donations to the many wonderful local nonprofits and educational institutions doing incredible work to keep our community thriving. We make monetary and in-kind (gift cards, books, event tickets) donations to fundraisers, establish libraries, promote incredible programs, and encourage reading and literacy.
If you are a local community-based organization that would like to request a donation from Booksmith, please complete and submit this form.
Alongside our commitment to sharing resources with those in need, Brookline Booksmith aims to continue to strengthen our relationship to the larger world of readers, writers, and publishers. Our Transnational Literature Series partners with bookstores and literary nonprofits from all over the world to bring exciting authors, translators, and experts into conversation together.
We’re proud of our relationships with Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc), Little Free Library and Libro.fm, an indie-friendly audiobook service that makes both classics and new favorites accessible to a wide audience. We’re also a participating bookstore in the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Reckless Reader program, where readers can subscribe to LARB’s incredible publication featuring original articles, reviews, fiction, and poetry and receive a 10% discount on new full-price books at dozens of independent bookstores across the country.