Some bookstores boast having a cat on the premises, but a new bookstore in Parkville has dedicated a Twitter account and part-ownership to its domestic, short-haired black beauty.
Carpe Librum Bookstore and Art Gallery, which opened Jan. 21 at 7221 Harford Road, counts 361 Twitter fans for its bookstore cat Stan Lee. And bookstore owner Melissa Eisenmeier even jests that her cat is her business partner.
“It’s something I started half joking about after seeing an article about a bookstore cat in New York City, who apparently said he was the co-owner, and Stan Lee acted like he was in charge. Some might have a bookstore cat, but the bookstore cat being part owner is something of a novelty.”
The bookstore specializes in both new and used books from small press publishers, including Philadelphia’s Lanternfish Press, Lethe Press of New Jersey, Oregon’s Ashland Creek Press and Baltimore’s own Mason Jar Press. The shop also stocks fun non-book items, including dog bandanas, bookmarks and notecards made by locals. The gallery also features local artists and emphasizes abstract art. Eventually she would like to stock more locally made arts and crafts.
“I got my start in the industry about seven years ago, when I opened a different bookstore. My business partner and I ended up closing it, but I really liked the idea of owning a bookstore,” Eisenmeier says of her previous experience running the Parkville Bookworm. Her new store, Carpe Librum, has no relation to the Carpe Librum bookstores in DC or Chicago.
The Parkville area seemed like a good fit for her 1,000-square-foot store as residents seem to support small businesses, Eisenmeier says. She counts other independent businesses in her neighborhood, including Fenwick Bakery and Mastellone Deli & Wine Shop. “People around here seem to like shopping local and books in general, so this is the perfect spot for an independent bookstore.”
Stop in Carpe Librum for one of its upcoming author events. On Feb. 8, it will host a brunch with author J.L. Gribble, author of a vampire book series. On Feb. 22, it will host “Baltimore Stories: An Evening of Baltimore-Inspired Visual and Literary Art by Local Artists.” The event will feature Baltimore-inspired literary and visual art. Writer Kerry Graham will read vignettes about her experience teaching high school English and each story is paired with art or photography. Raw Dog Screaming Press editors John Edward Lawson and Jennifer Barnes will be at the bookstore on March 8th at 4 pm, along with two of their authors, Heidi Ruby Miller and Jason Jack Miller.