The bookstore officially opens in April. In the meantime, the owner is collecting donations from the community.
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A new bookstore in Gwinnett County hopes to offer literacy in all languages. The Little Book Spot, located inside the Plaza Las Americas shopping center in Lilburn, will stock its shelves with books from around the world to increase literacy in the community.
Bookstore owner Nury Castillo-Crawford has big dreams; from offering books in all languages to welcoming authors from other countries to speak to the community.
“We can empower our parents and help our parents see the importance. You can give your kids other gifts, but the gift of literacy will be unmatched and unprecedented,” Castillo-Crawford said.
She saw the need for greater access to literacy and books in different languages as an administrator for Gwinnett County Schools.
“90% of the writers in this country are white men,” she said. “We need to increase diversity so that every child, every child feels seen, and every child feels like their journey matters too.”
As of last school year, the district was made up mostly of Hispanic and Latino students.
According to the Gwinnett County Public Schools website, Hispanic/Latino students made up 33% of the student population in the 2020-2021 school year, compared to the Caucasian student population, which was 20%.
That year, the district said its students came from 181 countries and spoke 100 different languages.
“I just don’t see this reflection of people trying to access bilingual books and our other languages as quickly as it should,” she added. “I’d like to help expedite that by providing this resource.”
Castillo-Crawford hopes the bookstore will offer books for people of all ages and backgrounds. She believes in this passion project so much that she pays for everything herself.
“It’s a huge risk,” she said. “90% of independent bookstores go bankrupt within the first three years, and people online even call it a money pit. But I also know, and I’ve also read, that if the community supports something, it will most likely thrive. For me, helping our community learn, understand and support is about getting to where they are.”
Community members, including Gwinnett County mother Sylvia Goalen, who speaks Spanish and English, have already donated books and decorations for the bookstore.
“I was born in Guatemala, Central America. I struggled a lot in school – I didn’t read well when I came here, I was in the ESOL program when I lived in California,” Goalen recalls. “I think reading is what made me learn a second language a little easier and a lot faster, so hopefully this in a place like Plaza Las Americas, shows the community the importance of read and educate our children.”
The bookstore officially opens in April.
Until then, Castillo-Crawford is focused on stocking shelves with books from around the world and is still accepting donations.
“I think all of us here in the community are going to benefit from that,” said Goalen, who is part of three different book clubs.
The bookstore is located at the back of Plaza Las Americas, at 733 Pleasant Hill Rd, Lilburn, GA 30047.
To donate, contact Castillo-Crawford at [email protected] or click here.