One Woman’s Quest to Bring Books to the Bronx

The Bronx has roughly 1.5 million residents, and, since the closing of Barnes & Noble at the Bay Plaza Shopping Center, zero bookstores. Not OK! Recognizing a void that desperately needs to be filled, Noëlle Santos devised a plan to bring books back to the Bronx — with a modern twist.

Santos hopes to open up The Lit. Bar, a combination bookstore, winebar, and social hub where customers can expect to “come together and speak about social issues.” After launching a crowdfunding campaign through IndieGogo, The Lit. Bar has since raised a whopping $61,900 out of a $100,000 flexible goal, with a month left to fund the remainder. Added incentive: Santos provides dope rewards based on donation amount.

Not only does Santos have the valiant goal to provide a local resource in a certifiable book-desert outside of delivery-options like Amazon, she wants The Lit. Bar to bust down stereotypes, too. “When you think about the South Bronx you don’t usually think about wine and intellectuals reading,” Santos told PIX11 News. “It’s really a movement to break those Bronx stereotypes.”

The Lit. Bar will do just that, along with offering lots of consumer-friendly options and social events that go beyond simply purchasing your favorite top-selling novels, as per the IndieGogo:

“We will offer general interest multilingual books, dope gift items, events, and programs with a particular focus on local and women’s interests. Our venue will encourage curious readers and welcome local art and community gatherings while connecting the great pastimes of social drinking and introverted reading. What better way to loosen our tongues and talk about the books we love?


Bronxites and visitors may partake in wines, craft beer and ciders, coffee, and light bites at our bar made of books, chill out in a chic and comfortable environment tailored for reading, creating & discussing, and enjoy a variety of stimulating events including author greets, wine tastings, poetry slams, game nights, and book club meet-ups. Our children’s nook, Kiddie Lit’r, will offer children’s literature, story readings, workshops, and more.”

I live in the Bronx, and I’m already planning out what survival gear I’ll be bringing to camp out for the store’s official opening. Books, wine, and stimulating conversation? My dream come true!

(P.S. Noëlle, if you’re ever searching for a business partner-in-crime, I volunteer as tribute. (; )


Featured image courtesy of Vibe.