From Shelf Awareness 9/7/22:
Loving Room: Diaspora Books + Salon, an 800-square-foot bookstore, reading room and community space with a focus on Black authors and stories, opened on Labor Day in Seattle, Wash., the Seattle Times reported.
Located at 1400 20th Avenue in Seattle’s Central District, the bookstore sells fiction and nonfiction for children, teens and adults. The reading room features books on display that visitors are welcome to peruse but not purchase, and there are pieces of African art including a Yoruba throne, sculptures and a Dogon wooden medicine cabinet. Loving Room is in the same building as the Liink Project, a cooperative retail and event space that focuses on Black artists and Black-owned businesses.
“It had to be now or never,” said owner Kristina Clark, who told the Times she’d dreamed of opening a bookstore for 10 years. “I think I got to the point where I had to face the fact that, you know, it’s one thing to nurture this dream and to hold onto this dream, but without investing time, energy, effort and resources, that’s all it would be, which would be this dream and this hope.”
Clark left her job as a family programs manager at the nonprofit Families of Color Seattle in summer 2021. Earlier this year she began a GoFundMe campaign to help her launch Loving Room that has raised nearly $9,000. Those funds have helped with rent, fixtures and inventory, and in August Clark signed a three-year lease.
Loving Room opened with a soft launch of its reading room on August 21. As the bookstore and community space grows, Clark hopes to turn the reading room into a lending library and host author events, book club meetings and film screenings.
“I still felt that strong desire to create a space that’s really about celebrating Black people in the fullness of who we are,” Clark said, “where we can engage with literature and our histories, but not be policed for how we show up and how we do that.”