FARMINGTON – The past year has been a struggle for many businesses to stay afloat, but with the help of the local community, Devaney, Doak and Garrett Booksellers is celebrating its 30th Anniversary on May 1.
DDG first opened in 1991 and has since been providing outreach and support to local literacy programs. Owner, Kenny Brechner has spent the majority of the past 30 years focusing on getting books into young readers’ hands. Starting with bringing arcs (advanced reader copies of books yet to be published) to local schools.
“I volunteered to do Junior Achievement in a 4 grade classroom…I brought a whole set of advanced readers and the kids just lit up. A light went on for me,” said Brechner. “This was really meaningful. At that point I was just all in on outreach.”
Brechner recalls the first time he gave a child an arc and the impact he could feel from that moment.
“There was this one child that was incredibly in love with this book, it was a graphic novel about Frankenstein and it came to my attention that he had no books of his own at all. I looked at him and told him the publisher wants you to have this,” said Brechner. “It was an amazing moment.”
This led to the creation of an arc project that helped get arcs into the hands of young readers. More recently all the local schools have constructed little libraries that DDG donates arcs to. These books can be taken by students and kept. For Brechner having books that young readers can hold onto is essential.
“Reading is such a profoundly personal and engaged experience. You are inside the book and I think having possession of that, a child owning that, gives them a sense of ownership over their own inner world,” said Brechner.
Even during the pandemic when school libraries were closed DDG was working with the volunteers to deliver arcs with school lunches to remote students. Sharing reading and love for books has always been at the forefront of DDG’s mission.
“The idea of sharing the love of reading has always been my mission here. Nothing exemplifies that more than reaching out to children in schools,” said Brechner.
DDG won’t be having a celebratory party as it has had for past anniversaries, but they are still finding ways to mark the occasion. DDG is looking for community members or customers to send in a book remembrance of a meaningful book you purchased there and to share a little about how it impacted you. These can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone who submits will receive a gift from the store.
As for the future Brechner is hopeful that people will continue to support local businesses and is optimistic about the value people have put into their communities.
“[We’ve seen] a lot of growth in online sales. Amazon’s value rose crazily. At the same time many people saw the value of what they had in the community,” said Brechner. “Which paths people take will determine how the future goes. We will do everything we can to be here.”