November 26, 2012
Obama supports an independent bookstore
by Claire Kelley
On Small Business Saturday over the weekend, President Obama took his daughters Sasha and Malia to One More Page, an independent bookstore in Arlington, Virginia. According to the White House, the President and his daughters bought 15 children’s books as Christmas presents for family members.
I stopped by One More Page on Sunday and spoke to bookstore owner Eileen McGervey, who said that White House staffers came into the bookshop on Saturday afternoon and informed bookstore employees that the President and his daughters would be visiting the store in ten minutes. Then agents swept the shop and brought in a bomb sniffing dog. Customers who were already browsing in the bookstore were allowed to stay, but otherwise the street outside was blocked off and additional people weren’t allowed in.
While they selected some books from browsing in the store, President Obama chose most titles from a predetermined list on his Blackberry. Sasha and Malia helped him decide between titles that the bookshop had in stock. While McGervey was not working at the time, she told me that they also bought some chocolate (One More Page sells wine and chocolate in addition to books). I asked McGervey which books the President purchased, and she said she wanted to respect the privacy of her customers (including her famous visitors) and would leave it up to the White House to disclose the President’s selections.
While the White House did not report the names of any specific titles, careful scrutiny of the books in a press photo on One More Page’s Tumblr page reveals that the purchases included Lauren Oliver’s young adult series, including Pandemonium, the second in the series.
This is not the first time that the President has supported an independent bookstore in the Washington DC area on Small Business Saturday — last year he visited Kramerbooks.
President Obama tweeted a message of support for bookstores on Saturday afternoon:
Terry Webeker, a One More Page employee who was working in the store when the President came in said, “We think it’s great that President Obama supports small businesses and that he has a soft spot for books. It’s an honor that he visited our store.”
Claire Kelley is a the former Director of Library and Academic Marketing.