Internationalist Books and Community Center is moving to a new space! We need to move the bookstore to continue to thrive in our work, and we need our community’s help to make it possible. Your support will lay the groundwork for the future of this project: another 33 years to share stories of the past and to carve out space for the firebrands and troublemakers of our times.
We reach out to you with our deepest gratitude for any way you can contribute to the sustenance of Internationalist Books. Today we launch a month long fundraising campaign, ending on the date of our grand opening in the new space on Sunday, September 28th. With your help, we’re raising $15,500 in thirty days! Thank you, so much.
You can make tax-deductible donations online at our fundraising page.
What is the Internationalist?
Internationalist Books and Community Center, 501(c)(3), is a non-profit radical bookstore in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Since 1981 we have served as a hub for activism and local organizing, from anti-apartheid to anti-fracking. To sustain ourselves as a community resource, we stock a carefully chosen selection of new and used books, focusing on hard-to-find and marginalized publications. Our customers come to us to expand their horizons, delve deeper into their passions, and meet like-minded people. They leave more informed about vital happenings in their community.
Unlike most typical businesses, we consider it part of our purpose to welcome visitors regardless of identity or income. If you can’t afford a book, you can still access our library of essential titles, or simply relax for a while in our community space. As part of our commitment to maintain a Safer Space for marginalized groups, we have hosted a weekly Queer Youth Drop-In Night and with the NC Harm Reduction Coalition, a transgender discussion group. Our Prison Books program extends access to our resources to incarcerated people throughout the Southeast.
The Internationalist regularly hosts workshops, meetings, book clubs, film screenings, and author readings. In the last year alone, invited speakers have shared eyewitness accounts and political analysis from Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, India, Israel, and Egypt. At home, we have offered successive generations of activists a tangible link to their past.
Purpose of the Campaign
In our over thirty years in Chapel Hill, the character of commerce has changed. Affordable retail space has been overrun by luxury developments and pricey boutiques, pushing out one after another of the town’s beloved fixtures. Under the same pressure, we started looking for a new location in 2008. Finally, we signed a lease this August on a storefront a few blocks west in Carrboro. Our move puts us within convenient reach of many of our long-term supporters while keeping us easily accessible from Chapel Hill.
Like many businesses, our options are to grow or get left behind. In the short term, our overhead costs will increase by 35% in the new location. By January, however, our new lease will give us better terms than the one we are leaving. To sustain ourselves financially in the long term, we need to pay for renovations to make our store inviting and useable, as well as an inventory expansion to increase our volume of sales. Additionally, we need funds for transition costs as we get up and running.
Here is the breakdown of how we’ll spend the money we raise:
· $6000 will go to new inventory: books our loyal customers have asked about for years, new titles for the different audiences we’ll be attracting, a small drinks menu developed with our business partners, hard-to-find health products, posters, calendars, greeting cards, and of course bumper stickers.
· $3000 will go to renovations: a finished 12’ ceiling, insulation, restroom plumbing, custom shelving, café tables and seating, interior and exterior paint, and artwork. Skilled professionals have committed to donate all labor, so we will open with a renovated space worth over twice this.
· $3500 will cover transition costs: lost revenue from store closure while we move, a short period of rent obligations in both locations, and the difference in monthly overhead while sales increase from our new inventory.
· $3000 will cover our new security deposit and first month’s rent.
As always, the Internationalist is only as strong as the community that supports it. Now, we need your support so we can survive and thrive for the coming decades. Please donate whatever you can to make our vision possible!
See you on Lloyd Street!