Bookstore With a Mission
This summer, Boxcar Books presents the Thursdays at Boxcar event series. It's a project planned by members of the collective, and there's something for everyone. It's Boxcar's way of reclaiming summer.
"We like to think of ourselves as a bookstore but with a mission," said Steven Stothard, one of the events coordinators at Boxcar. He referred to Boxcar Books as Bloomington's only non-profit, volunteer-powered, collectively-run bookstore and community space. Part of Boxcar's mission, he continued, is being a dynamic, interactive space for people to come and discuss ideas, "whether it be a workshop, learn things, or whether it be something fun like a film screening."
Something for Everyone
Thursdays at Boxcar includes all sorts of events, from a public discussion on homelessness led by the group The Bloomington Catholic Worker to an Irish music open jam session.
"That's sort of the goal of these events is it can be something serious, or the Meltdown Throwdown – the ice cream eating contest." That eating contest is one of the most unique and seasonally-appropriate events of the series.
Later in the summer, Stothard is excited to see the Minneapolis-based theater group The Cat Fist on July 1. They're touring the country with their play "Fanciness vs. The Void." He explained that instead of playing traditional performance spaces and theaters, "they're doing it more DIY-style, by performing in houses and parks."
The outdoor space at Boxcar Books includes a long, skinny porch, a patio area that seat 30-40 people, and a bike rack for visitors peddling their way to the shop. Stothard pointed out the newest addition to the Boxcar patio, "a couple picnic tables from Laughing Planet, donated very graciously."
Boxcar offers its space free-of-charge to community, activist, literary, and special interest groups. Stothard explained that this is one way they make connections between organizations, and part of their mission is to collaborate with other local businesses as much as possible.
"Whether that be co-sponsoring a movie with Plan 9. Or, we're co-sponsoring a film showing at The Bishop in July with Landlocked Music," he said.
"It's important to support each other, because there's strength in numbers."