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Water Valley’s Violet Valley Bookstore Celebrates One Year Anniversary

By Talbert Toole
Lifestyles Editor
talbert.toole@hottytoddy.com

Violet Valley Bookstore is located at 303 North Main Street in Water Valley. Photo by Talbert Toole.

The Violet Valley Bookstore—located at 303 North Main Street in Water Valley—is celebrating its one year anniversary Friday at 5 p.m. with special guest appearances by authors Tom Franklin, Beth Ann Fennelly and Kiese Laymon.

Opening a bookstore had always been a dream for owner Jaime Harker, professor of English and director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Mississippi.

Harker said it is a labor of love to keep the bookstore open, and she, among others, do it to make Water Valley and Mississippi a better place.

“We need spaces like Violet Valley Bookstore to imagine a Mississippi that is big enough for all of us,” Harker said.

When Harker and three other board members opened the store, their mission was to create a space for LGBTQ inclusivity.

However, creating such a space also left room for backlash against the store. Social media rumors circulated when the store first opened its doors. Misconceptions and fears led to communities believing the store would be selling pornography; however, Harker said now that people have ventured into the small space to witness what it truly is, the rumors have calmed down.

“I have people discovering how nice it is to have a bookstore in town—especially one with a mission of providing affordable used books, as well as a diverse range of feminist and LGBTQ books,” she said.

Alexe Van Beuren, owner of the B.T.C. Grocery, said she is excited that the bookstore is still a staple in Water Valley and hopes they continue to be. 

With a variety of books, literature enthusiasts can walk into Violet Valley Bookstore anytime and find a children’s book or a great book of literature for $1.

As the bookstore continues to enhance its shelves with books filled of inclusive literature, Harker said the store will continue to sponsor readings and special events. In addition to those events, she would also love to add some book clubs and other community events at the space.

“I think holding steady and growing slowly is the best plan,” Harker said. “We need to be sustainable because we plan to be here a long time.”

For more information on the Violet Valley Bookstore, visit VioletValley.org.


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