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Flickr: TheRichardsons

8 Bookstores in Barns

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Flickr: TheRichardsons

What is it about barns that makes people want to fill them with books? Empty barns are one thing this country has plenty of, and a few enterprising booksellers have figured out something to do with all that space. But you'd be surprised how many places call themselves book barns that aren't housed in barns at all. We found book barns in strip mall storefronts. We found book barns in sprawling one-story warehouses. We even found a book barn in a 19th-century funeral parlor in Kansas.

This list keeps it real, including only bookstores housed in actual barns.

1. A Book Barn of the Finger Lakes

Flickr user Travelin' Librarian

This is a true barn. It's a rusty red color, with big wood sliding doors. Owned by a Cornell University alum, the store is just outside Ithaca, New York.

2. The Baldwin Book Barn in West Chester, PA

This stone barn outside Philadelphia is almost two hundred years old. It's been a bookstore since 1946 and, according to its website, there are around 300,000 volumes in stock. The Book Barn also sells maps and prints.

3. The Book Barn of Niantic, Connecticut

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Open since 1988—with a brief hiatus after a fire in the early 1990s—the Book Barn of Niantic has half a million books in stock. It's now spread across several locations, but the original location is in a quaint shingled barn.

4. Whitlock's Book Barn

This is a 65-year-old bookstore operating out of two barns on a farm outside New Haven, Connecticut.

5. Berkelouw Book Barn

Anzaab.com

This Australian bookstore, housed in an old barn with cathedral ceilings, has recently been given a facelift. Now it is a venue for weddings and other catered events, but apparently the books are still in situ.

6. The Used Book Barn in Bozeman, Montana

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This barn has a classic barn shape and white-painted siding. The owners will take used books for store credit.

7. Lake Daylesford Book Barn

Panoramio

This small barn made of brick and wood is on a lake in Australia. It's both a bookstore and a cafe.

8. Moyer's Book Barn in Lancaster County, PA

Flickr user TheRichardsons

Housed in a two-story barn covered with ivy, this bookstore has a large fiction collection. The lovely area surrounding it is known as Pennsylvania Dutch country.

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Kyle Ely
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Dedicated Middle School Teacher Transforms His Classroom Into Hogwarts
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Kyle Ely

It would be hard to dread back-to-school season with Kyle Ely as your teacher. As ABC News reports, the instructor brought a piece of Hogwarts to Evergreen Middle School in Hillsboro, Oregon by plastering his classroom with Harry Potter-themed decor.

The journey into the school's makeshift wizarding world started at his door, which was decorated with red brick wall paper and a "Platform 9 3/4" sign above the entrance. Inside, students found a convincing Hogwarts classroom complete with floating candles, a sorting hat, owl statues, and house crests. He even managed to recreate the starry night sky effect of the school’s Great Hall by covering the ceiling with black garbage bags and splattering them with white paint.

The whole project cost the teacher around $300 to $400 and took him 70 hours to build. As a long-time Harry Potter fan, he said that being able to share his love of the book series with his students made it all pay off it. He wrote in a Facebook post, "Seeing their faces light up made all the time and effort put into this totally worth it."

Inside of Harry Potter-themed classroom.

Inside of Harry Potter-themed classroom.

Inside of Harry Potter-themed classroom.

Though wildly creative, the Hogwarts-themed classroom at Evergreen Middle School isn't the first of its kind. Back in 2015, a middle school teacher in Oklahoma City outfitted her classroom with a potions station and a stuffed version of Fluffy to make the new school year a little more magical. Here are some more unique classroom themes teachers have used to transport their kids without leaving school.

[h/t ABC News]

Images courtesy of Kyle Ely.

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How the Rise of Paperback Books Turned To Kill a Mockingbird Into a Literary Classic
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Tim Boyle/Getty Images

If you went to middle or high school in the U.S. in the last few decades, chances are you’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee's now-classic novel (which was adapted into a now-classic film) about racial injustice in the South. Even if you grew up far-removed from Jim Crow laws, you probably still understand its significance; in 2006, British librarians voted it the one book every adult should read before they die. And yet the novel, while considered an instant success, wasn’t always destined for its immense fame, as we learned from the Vox video series Overrated. In fact, its status in the American literary canon has a lot to do with the format in which it was printed.

To Kill a Mockingbird came out in paperback at a time when literary houses were just starting to invest in the format. After its publication in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird was reviewed favorably in The New York Times, but it wasn’t the bestselling novel that year. It was the evolution of paperbacks that helped put it into more hands.

Prior to the 1960s, paperbacks were often kind of trashy, and when literary novels were published in the format, they still featured what Vox calls “sexy covers,” like a softcover edition of The Great Gatsby that featured a shirtless Jay Gatsby on the cover. According to a 1961 article in The New York Times, back in the 1950s, paperbacks were described as “a showcase for the ‘three S’s—sex, sadism, and the smoking gun.’” But then, paperbacks came to schools.

The mass-market paperback for To Kill a Mockingbird came out in 1962. It was cheap, but had stellar credentials, which appealed to teachers. It was a popular, well-reviewed book that earned Lee the Pulitzer Prize. Suddenly, it was in virtually every school and, even half a century later, it still is.

Learn the whole story in the video below from Vox.

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