UPDATED 6/9/2014: After a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign and months of hard work, Ancestry Books is opened on Saturday. The grand opening was too big for the bookstore, so it started outdoors.
Chaun Webster described the dream and the bookstore-that-will-be in the Kickstarter appeal:
My wife and I live with our family in the Cleveland Neighborhood of North Minneapolis, a community that we love, but is also one of the most under-resourced in the state of Minnesota. There is a scarcity of “third place” in North Minneapolis, third place being an idea of place that is outside of home and work where we build community, where we can relax, where we find a sense of belonging and where we can build power. At present, there is not a single bookstore in our community and this is where Ancestry Books comes in.
Initially, we imagined Ancestry Books as a pop-up bookstore that would run for the summer in the front porch of our home. However, after evaluating the challenges of rezoning in the timeframe we had planned, we considered using storefronts in North Minneapolis. As of January 23rd, we signed a 16-month lease for a cozy storefront on 2205 Lowry Ave. N, literally blocks from our home. We will be located next to the Lowry Cafe, North End Hardware, and blocks from Lucy Craft Laney Elementary School. So instead of a pop-up bookstore that would utilize our front porch, it will be a “pop-up” walking distance from the places we sleep, eat and play. It is perfect. This would be a unique space for high touch interaction that would focus on making under-represented authors available in a community that has little access to them.
He also described the reasons for the bookstore in a Community Voices article in the Daily Planet:
Currently the community of North Minneapolis doesn’t have a single bookstore, NOT ONE! Ancestry Books will not only be filling in a much needed gap, it will be providing access to literature that is vastly underrepresented in our libraries, bookstores, and public school curriculum.
The stories of indigenous communities and communities of color are far too often ghettoized in spaces dedicated to literature, if not omitted altogether.