Linzi Murray, a 2017 graduate of Drake University, is set to open a bookstore called Reading in Public in July of 2022 at 315 5th St., Suite 100 in West Des Moines.
Murray described Reading in Public as “a place for people to welcome people and a warm and inviting environment.” She wants this bookstore to be a safe space for all people, making sure that they get the representation they deserve through the books that she will be supplying.
Murray says she plans to have a unique curation of books, with many of them sparking conversations about mental health and other social justice issues. This bookstore is a way of serving the community and providing a safe space for people to come together.
Murray graduated from Drake University in 2017 with a double major in graphic design and painting. She said she truly loved her time at Drake University, getting involved within international student organizations and really loving all the design department had to offer.
After graduation, she moved to New York City with her husband and worked as a freelance graphic designer for many authors within the area. One of her favorite projects was getting to work with Ingrid Fetell Lee on her book called “Joyful,” getting to do many illustrations for this best selling book.
While living in NYC, the pandemic hit and this is truly what inspired her bookstore, with her saying that “bookstores are important to happiness.” Many of the bookstores that Murray loved, such as Bookstore Magic, shut down due to this sickness, not even offering carryout for books, so she turned to Instagram.
Murray ended up creating a Bookstagram page on Instagram, with her being able to connect with other readers, authors and even her favorite bookstores throughout the city, ones that inspired her to open up her own. Her Instagram page has amassed a following of 8,859 followers, allowing her to share her love for reading and all things books.
One thing Murray truly loves about the book community is how supportive they are of each other. Many local bookstores such as Dog Eared Books in Ames, Story House Bookpub in Des Moines and Racoon River Press in the Des Moines area have supported her on this journey.
“I talked to every single bookstore in the area, with all of them being very supportive about a bookstore finally coming to Valley Junction. This area really drew me because of the foot traffic, community and the area of destination. Valley Junction has been wanting a bookstore for a long time and we were able to help them with that,” Murray said.
Reading in Public is set to open in July of 2022 with a cafe inside the bookstore and cards, stationary, a selection of store-branded merchandise and other gift items available. But Murray still has more planned before the big opening this summer.
She will hold a workshop at the Des Moines Book Festival on how to read more, with this festival happening on March 26th from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Capital Square in Des Moines. Murray also holds occasional pop-ups at the Fox Brewing Company.
Sounds interesting! It has been several yrs since we’ve had a bookstore on 5th street. I miss it . I hope that this new book store will be a good one. Best wishes!