Blue Chair Children’s Books in Glendora is more than a place to purchase books, it is a kitchen, a castle, a space ship, sometimes a Quidditch field and much more.
The front area of Blue Chair appears to be a regular book store, but in the back there is a large blue chair in a corner, a tall rock climbing area, and a large castle.
The book store is owned by former English teacher Shaelyn Koops.
“It’s always been a dream of mine, in college I worked at a book store called Pooh’s Corner in Grand Rapids, Mich.,” Koops said.
Koops purchased the store five years ago when the original owner’s husband died.
She has expanded and changed much of the store, except the name.
“We kept the name in honor of the original owners,” Koop said. “It’s named after a large blue chair that they read to their children in.”
Besides selling books, the Blue Chair offers weekly drum classes on Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., story time on Mondays and birthday parties, among other things.
The drum courses are taught by Koops’ husband, who is a music teacher.
At the drum classes the children are taught how to play both African and Latino hand drums.
Every Monday Koops puts together a story time, which usually relates seasons, author’s days, or newly featured stories.
“We do birthday parties as well,” Koops said.
“In the parties we take the story and all our activities follow that particular story.”
Koops has done a Harry Potter party where children were able to ride a broom attached to the ceiling and attempt to catch the golden snitch similar to the sport Quidditch in the Harry Potter series.
“This is my first time here, if I was a kid I’d love to go here, it seems like an inviting and fun environment,” junior psychology major Ngoc Bui said.
Blue Chair is very focused on the community; the book store serves the community by filling in the gaps, especially in education.
The book store will be introducing more art classes to support the need in the community.
“We wouldn’t be here if it were not for the community, we get energized by the community,” Koops said.
Although Koops has had help from the community, the biggest issue she has had with running the book store is the book business itself.
“The biggest obstacle has been that it is a book store, books aren’t read as much as they used to be, but there are still a lot of readers out there,” Koops said.
When Koop was an English teacher, she became pregnant and took time off.
Shortly after that she became ill and would only have been able to teach part-time rather than full-time as she previously had.
Koops felt that by opening a book store she could still follow her dream and work with children and literature simultaneously.
Many of the offerings at Blue Chair stem from Koops’ own experience in teaching.
“As a teacher you just don’t sit and teach, you interact with students,” Koops said.
During the summers the book store offers summer camp like courses and workshops.
Koops is also thinking about offering a J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and J.K. Rowling club.
Besides operating as a book store and offering a multitude of programs Blue Chair also allows the community to come in utilize its space.
A chess club and violin class routinely meet at the book store.
The Blue Chair has a number of volunteers from the community who contribute in various ways.
Kady Kloster, a Glendora resident, volunteers at Blue Chair during the cooking classes.
“The Blue Chair book store was my first welcoming to Glendora when we moved here,” Kloster said. “Shaelyn does so much I figured I could do a little.”
Koops hopes to finish the castle and implement its draw bridge function as well as to keep getting older children inside the book store.
Blue Chair Children’s Books is located at 177 N. Glendora Ave. in Glendora.
It is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
For more information, visit bluechairbooks.com or call 626-335-8630.
Michael Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.