Who We Are
Internationalist Books is a volunteer run collective, a not-for-profit bookstore, a progressive community center, and community owned cooperative. The store was founded in 1981 by political activist Bob Sheldon. Originally founded to provide alternative information during the anti-apartheid movement in the 80s, the Internationalist has become a center of activism, political discussion, creative grassroots organizing, and a space which brings together people of all ages, sexual orientation, ethnic background, political beliefs and gender identity.
Internationalist Books provides new and used books and magazines on diverse subjects from beat literature to gay and lesbian fiction, alternative health to political theory. We specialize in hard to find, alternative, underground, small press, independent, and nontraditional literature. We sell sidelines such as self-published ‘zines, postcards, bumperstickers, spoken word CDs and politically oriented T-Shirts.
Our customers and volunteers come to us with a love of literature, a desire for current news and cultural meaning. They look for new and used unusual, cream of the crop, and progressive material. At Internationalist you’ll find a local community of liberal thought and discussion, a safe space for gays and lesbians, literature by and for people of all different ethnic backgrounds, global news and perspectives, a space to hang out and connect with local activism, and build a warm relationship with staff who essentially volunteer their time because they love the bookstore too!
Internationalist Books is cooperatively owned by community members, who pay a sliding scale donation of $10 (student/low/no income) to $25 per year to receive store discounts, access to the lending library, invitations to special events, a vote on our Board of Directors, and more. We are run by a Board of Directors made up of members, volunteers, and staff. More than 30 people volunteer at least 3 hours per week, running the store and all its programs. Internationalist Books provides a number of programs, from independent author readings, workshops, films, acoustic concerts, discussion groups, special ordering services, a books to prisoners program, and meeting space for various groups.
- To provide a diverse, open forum for the exchange of ideas and information
- To support and develop the power of progressive grassroots organizations and international movements for environmental sustainability and social and economic justice
- To create a responsible, community-based, participatory workplace and democratic institution
- To teach and learn community organizing, activist skills, and democratic decision-making processes
- To incorporate art and fun into everything possible