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Wollongong collective launches bookshop, workshop space

A new community collective called Society City is establishing a secondhand bookshop in Wollongong.

The member-run collective will operate the bookshop, and will also offer up the space for people to make zines, host talks and run practical skill-sharing workshops.

Society City member Amy Fairall told Books+Publishing that the collective wanted to provide Wollongong, which currently has a Dymocks store and a QBD Books, with an independent bookshop.

‘Opening a bookstore is a dream for many but a reality for few,’ said Fairall. ‘Not enough money, not enough time, not enough demand. By coming together we can overcome many of these obstacles. Wollongong had been without an independent bookstore for too long.’

The shop will stock secondhand books, and be staffed by volunteers from the collective. ‘We all volunteer to man the shop for two hours per week, and then some keen folks take on the administration and management tasks outside of that. There is a variety of skills within the collective. Many are writers, some work in publishing, some as social workers, community organisers and academics. Society City is not your run-of-the-mill bookshop,’ said Fairall. And while Society City’s focus will be on secondhand books, Fairall says the stock will be carefully curated. ‘We critically and creatively genre our stock in a way that makes people think about how the books they thumb through sit within the wider world of literature and beyond. We try to advance progressive Australian culture by being conscious of the kinds of stories we consume,’ she said.

The new bookshop already has a resident Marie Kondo book club, will host national poetry collective Girls on Key for a spoken word night, and is providing space to organisers of the Wollongong Writers Festival as they prepare for the upcoming festival. ‘We are a space dedicated to sharing stories in all forms, not just those that sit on a page,’ said Fairall.

The establishment of Society City follows the recent opening of a Collins bookshop in nearby Thirroul, which had lacked a bookshop for many years.

Society City will officially launch on Thursday, 14 March, with a party featuring ‘live poets and spoken word, an interactive ambient music set, story time and more’.

For more information, visit the bookstore’s social media accounts on Facebook or Instagram.



Category: Local news