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The Children’s Book Shop in Brookline Village, Massachusetts, will close its doors after 45 years on April 30. In spite of a GoFundMe campaign that raised more than $30,000 at the start of the pandemic, the lack of foot traffic and the inability to shift to online bookselling forced the closure of the 900 square foot store. The store is the oldest independent children’s bookstore in the area. Owner Terri Schmitz said, “We just didn’t have the business”.
Schmitz announced the upcoming closure on social media and in the store’s windows late last week. Last year, she began working with a real estate company to sell the retail co-op the store occupies. A new owner will take over on June 1.
A former librarian at Harvard University’s Widener Library, Schmitz purchased the Children’s Book Shop in 1985; when the building was turned into condos 10 years later, she bought the retail space. She was only the second owner of the store, following Elizabeth “Rusty” True Browder, who founded the tiny neighborhood bookstore for young children, from newborns through eighth graders, in 1977.
During Schmitz’s tenure, the bookstore received a number of awards, including a Pannell Award from the Women’s National Book Association in 2000 for best children’s bookstore, and a Best of Boston Award from Boston Magazine in 2002 for best children’s bookstore. The Children’s Book Shop was also known for its community involvement, including an annual spring poetry contest for children in grades K–8, which Schmitz ran for 25 years ending in 2021.
This week, Schmitz is planning to begin an inventory sale. She asks that people who want to share a memory or a message contact her via email.