Bookstores in Marshall – Where Are They?

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I felt somewhat horrified at this prospect of a town without a book store when I moved to Marshall almost three years ago. I refused to face the fact for a long time.

And just as I had resigned myself to buying all my books online, I discovered that there was a bookstore after all.

As I found out, there are three bookstores.

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The first, and most accessible, is inside the Marshall-Lyon County Library. Since you can pay at the library desk even when a volunteer attendant is not available, you can shop for books any time the library is open.

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Most books are a dollar for paperbacks and two dollars for hardcovers. Loads of kids books too. The best part? The bookstore is completely volunteer-run by the Friends of the Library, and every cent you spend goes directly to supporting library programs.

Wait, is that a Pippi Longstocking book in the picture? I might have to go back to the library and see if I can nab that one.


Used books are welcome donations, just leave them in this pretty little cart sitting outside the bookstore. Read a book, then donate it to help local literacy programs. I think that is awesome.

The Friends of the Library Bookstore supports summer programs for children and teens, and workshops, presentations, and artist receptions for adults, plus fund the library’s subscription to which you can access at the library.

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The second bookstore has less friendly hours than the library, but makes up for that with coffee and cookies. During the school year, make sure to check out Project Coffee and The Bookcase. The store is inside Marshall East Campus Learning Alternatives (MECLA) at the Market Street Mall, across from our office.

My article is ill-timed here, since this store is now closed for the summer. I will make sure to let everyone know when it’s open again.

The store is a collaboration between MECLA and the student group Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) at Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU). That was a lot of abbreviations. Does using three abbreviations in one sentence break any grammatical rules?

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Project Coffee and The Bookcase is open during the school-year, week-day mornings from 7:30-11:30 am. Books and hot coffee tease me as I attempt to work, while wishing I could use my job as an excuse for lounging on their comfortable couch sipping coffee and browsing the books.

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When the sign is out, the store is open. Book sales support the MECLA library – wow, look, supporting local literacy! I’ll admit that I may be slightly biased when it comes to that whole literacy thing.

Prior to a book donation from SIFE, MECLA students did not have their own school library. Students engaged in the bookstore learn valuable business skills and develop their math literacy.

The third bookstore is of course the SMSU campus bookstore, brought to us by Barnes & Noble. The store is open weekdays from 9 am to 4:30 pm. Although their selection of non-academic books is fairly small, they also have lots of Mustangs paraphernalia and office supplies.

Looking for a specific book, but can’t find it in the stores listed above? Check out the following websites:

Paperback Swap logoAt PaperBack Swap you can exchange used books with other members. List what you have, and each time you send someone a requested book you get a credit to order one. Pay postage when you ship a book, receive one for free. Takes the store out of books.

better world books logoBetter World Books sells new and used books, then help create more readers by donating their profits to literacy programs. Read a book, and you’ve helped someone else learn how. Now that’s nifty! Almost as cool as directly supporting our local literacy programs by shopping at the library.

powells books logoPowell’s Books. Dear, city-block-sized Powell’s based in my old hometown Portland, Oregon. The biggest independent bookstore in the world, and if you ever get the chance, well worth a visit.

Did I miss something? Let me know if I did.

~ Charlotte

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