Cafe con Libros, 724 Prospect — Brooklynian

Cafe con Libros, 724 Prospect

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  • near Rogers Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 5.21.04 PM
  • edited October 2017
    They seem to have missed their original goal of opening in August: go
  • One manager's favorite book is The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. Weird hours: 7am to 6pm during the week?
  • My fiancee formerly worked with the owner, who is an amazing human being. Please patronize her business, which is focused on enriching the community, especially children. Their first book club meeting is next week. Stop in to see what they'll be discussing next!
  • If she doesn't already have it, I'd happily give her my copy of Rosie Revere Engineer or Ada Twist Scientist, for parents to read to their kids while there. Loved reading it to my daughter (and son) and explaining the real lessons in them.
  • I believe I saw a copy of Ada Twist Scientist there, yet I imagine more copies would be appreciated. The children's section is to the right, as you enter. Follow on Instagram: cafeconlibros_bk. Kalima just posted that Kindred, by Octavia Butler, is next book they'll be reading in their community book club.
  • I noticed Hullabaloo Books on Franklin Ave was closed for part of January with a plan to re-open as a store that will specialize in books about social justice. I wonder if that's an answer to Cafe Con Libros.
  • Hullabaloo books? Can that even be considered a book store? They don't pay their employees, have used books but won't accept other old ones by donation or for a few bucks (like Unameable on Vanderbilt). And correct me if I'm wrong but all the books are full price. There's no book club or community anything. About time they realized that they're business model needed to be changed.
  • @yesbrooklyn i think that's a brilliant business model!! Don't pay employees, somehow get used books for free but sell them at full price.....it's brilliant....if you really just care to make the most money in the least ethical way! I'm SHOCKED at who the owner is! /s
  • Hullabaloo didn't sell used books at full price, but usually more than 1/2 price and I think that's steep for used books. Their biggest problem - from a customer perspective - was their wildly inconsistent hours. Hadn't heard that they didn't pay employees. Anyways, good luck to Cafe Con Libros. I hope they prove that a store with books can succeed in our neighborhood.
  • oH MY! I believe the "employees" are called volunteers, and as far as I know they are not forced labor! The cart outside is often pay what you will or a buck. AND yES! It can be called a book store if it sells books. Its not that hard to figure out, just open your mind.
  • That's really unfortunate that Hullabaloo couldn't hire employees and needed to rely on volunteers - as well as handouts for the used book inventory. They obviously had some capital if they were stocking new books. From what I could tell when I walked by last night, the store is being cleared out. I'm not so sure their social justice bookstore is happening at all, as it's already missed its intended opening date by three weeks.
  • Is Hullabaloo for profit? I think people's problem with it is that it's in pretty prime real estate, had the funds to relocate, customizes to presumably be profitable, but meanwhile gets much of its inventory and labor for free. How do they pay their rent? They took over space from the pharmacy (a for profit business) so presumably they pay rent. Is it just a community service? I don't like the idea of a privatized library and this resembles that idea.
  • edited February 7
    I perceive Hullabaloo as best described as a "Hobby" of the owner. It can't really be analyzed in terms of "how is rent paid? Where is the ROI?"
  • Perhaps a “mission” or “passion” rather than a “hobby”?
  • I might describe Cafe Con Libros in that way, but Hullabaloo falls short.
  • whynot, I misread the context of your comment... I was in fact referring to Cafe Con Libros.
  • FYI, Jewel City took over Hullabaloos space . saw people with yoga mats and a few books on the nearly empty shelves.
  • "For DeSuze, it’s disheartening that the community feels it no longer belongs in a place that’s historically its own." Because cultures "own" neighborhoods? This is such a pervasive mindset that's not helpful to battling xenophobia, a national crisis of the moment. New Yorkers need to be leaders in this, not complicit in the us vs them mentality.
  • "During this time the Black population saw a 23 percent decrease, while the Asian, Latino and white population grew by 2.5, 5 and 14 percent, respectively."
  • "Own"? Did they feel that way when they displaced the previous "owners"? I've been there several times but if she wants a place for the "owners" I'll just take my business elsewhere.
  • I'm floored by the turn this discussion has taken. Kalima, the owner, was a school social worker for several years before opening the store (a family owned property). It has been a vision she cultivated for years, and it has finally come to fruition. She grew up in the neighborhood, and therefore, she has witnessed the change across decades, as residents have been displaced, particularly Caribbean immigrants. As an entrepreneur, she seeks to support a culture of growth through community engagement, centered around literacy (especially children's books). Some people on this board have taken one line in an article and presume to know everything about this human being and her mission. It is disappointing to see people twist her words to fit their own narrative. Why won't people celebrate the success of a black woman from the Crown Heights community?
  • @doughmane i don't think anyone is begruding her success -- her mission and execution are laudable -- but as someone who has put down roots in CH in recent years I understand the frustration of folks who hear this over and over again. yes, there are some people who have moved in or opened businesses here who are oblivious (or worse) to their surroundings and existing community, but there are many others who have moved in looking for an affordable (compared to other nearby parts of brooklyn) to raise a family. it's not kalima -- i'm sure most people on here hope her business is a huge success (i know i do) -- but the constant refrain of this or any other neighborhood being "ours" is frustrating. my in-laws lived 2 blocks from where i live now back in the day and my dad used to go to dodgers games at ebbets field! just as people like the summerhill gal (fairly) and the crow bar/franklin 820/whatever it's called now guy (unfairly imo) have been called to task for divisive statements they've made, so too should business owners who have grown up here. i hope people don't take that one line and decide that they don't want to patronize her business, but building community shouldn't be exclusionary. for what it's worth, all of the long time residents i know have been nothing but welcoming in the few years i've been here.
  • edited March 15
    "For DeSuze, it’s disheartening that the community feels it no longer belongs in a place that’s historically its own." Because cultures "own" neighborhoods? This is such a pervasive mindset that's not helpful to battling xenophobia, a national crisis of the moment. New Yorkers need to be leaders in this, not complicit in the us vs them mentality.
    In agreement here. I support her book store enterprise but not her tacked on rewrite of history. As recently as the 1950 this was a mixed nieghtborhood. if DeSuze needs proof, she only has to Go look at the vintage street photos found in the Brooklyn historical society or the website of the National Archive Photos.rogers.sterling1947 brimerl@aol.com1958_crhts41 1958 Grant Square
  • edited March 15
    Let's keep in perspective here that @yesbrooklyn has highlighted a sentence from the author of the article: Stacy Fernandez; it is not a quote from Kalima. Here is the message that Kalima sends, "I aim to bring the folks together who would normally not feel comfortable with one another. This is what I want to see.” She also declares, “I want to see multiple identities being comfortable sitting and hanging out with one another and connecting across differences,” Neither the word "own" nor the word "ownership" is used by Kalima, in reference to the neighborhood. Her message is one of inclusion within the CH community. Finally the statement highlighted by @yesbrooklyn makes a declaration about how the community feels, not Kalima. Your issue is with the writing voice and perspective of Stacy Fernandez.
  • Fair point @doughmane and that sounds great. Seems like Stacy's gloss on Kalima's view doesn't totally sync up with Kalima's mission.
  • If all Stacy has is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
This discussion has been closed.