Bad news from the land up north: Glad Day Bookshop, the world's oldest LGBT bookstore, needs your help to relocate to a bigger space so they can expand their services and prevent a closure.
LGBT bookstores have historically been an important part of the LGBT community, and continue to hold tremendous value today. Much like many bookstores, they can act as community centers, providing people a place to come together and a space for events and organizing. They also help preserve and grow LGBT history and can be an invaluable resource for the community. However, LGBT bookstores are also independent bookstores, and they face many of the same problems that have forced too many indie bookstores around the country to close. Still, they aren't giving up any time soon.
Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto is not only the oldest surviving LGBT bookshop in the world, but is also the oldest bookstore in Toronto, and was the first LGBT bookstore in Canada. Founded in 1970, it has served the community for almost half a century.
The store almost closed in 2012, but a group of community members stepped in, pooled their money, and bought Glad Day in order to keep it open. Since then, book sales have been up, but the store still isn't able to cover its costs in its current location. The owners therefore want to move the bookstore to a larger space that will allow them to introduce new revenue streams, including a coffeeshop and bar. And to accomplish that goal, the owners have launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund the move.
Far from being a relic, Glad Day is still an active part of the Toronto community. According to their fundraising page,
In the last 4 years, Glad Day Bookshop has hosted over 700 author & performer appearances at over 160 events. We’ve been able to pay over $27,000 to authors & artists for their participation at events. We have had over 125 volunteers log in over 14,000 hours making us an important cultural and community hub; with more funds and more space we can expand the vital role we play in many people’s lives.
And they hope that they will continue to be able to provide a space for community events in the years to come, and to remain an important part of Toronto's LGBT community. Indeed, even the plans for the move have been made based on input from the community regarding what people would like to see in a new location — and where people most wanted that location to be in the city.
"We will be a space where everyone feels welcome, sexy and celebrated," the store writes on the fundraising page. "We will be a queer-owned, indie place on Church Street. We will amplify the love, creativity, sexuality, diversity & liberation that Glad Day Bookshop is known for."
The store needs around $200,000 to make the move, and they're hoping to raise at least $50,000 of that on Indiegogo. As of press time, they have raised over $22,000, but the campaign is ending soon, so now's your time to help!