The Islander Bookshop is focused on creating a third space in the community - a place where people feel comfortable stopping in, browsing through books, seeing the latest creations from fellow artists and community members, wrapping their hands around their membership coffee mug, and relaxing with friends.
Small, independent bookshops are making a comeback across the country. From 2009 - 2015 there was a significant decline of small bookshops because of the influx of e-readers and e-books. However, from 2015 to now there has a been a resurgence of people moving back to the printed word. Small bookshops who specialize on creating warm, welcoming environments and who offer services that their community loves are able to compete with e-books and online sales - this movement is called a community supported bookshop.
Throughout the building of this bookshop we have talked with community members who begin to share how much they love a paper copy of a book. We love listening to their stories of where they were when they read their favorite book, how they display their books in their homes, but what is most moving is how people we have just met start to light up when they start talking about what book they are reading. There is something special that happens when people connect with a book.
We are proud to bring a small, bookstore back to the island. We want to honor the bookshops that have come before - people speak so fondly of The Next Page and The Shire Bookstore.
As a mother of two kids who are learning how to read, I’ve realized that my kids and kids throughout our town would greatly benefit from growing up with the joy of browsing books on rainy, cold winter days.
The Islander Bookshop will continue to refine itself so that we are reflective of our community and provide an experience which is positive.
Thank you for your support ~ Melissa
MELISSA HAFFEMAN, OWNER/OPERATOR
Melissa is a graduate of Kodiak High School and an alumna of both University of Alaska Fairbanks and Anchorage, and has a Master's degree in Leadership and Management. After seventeen years working in the education field as a teacher, director, and principal, Melissa has shifted her career focus to provide more time and flexibility to take care of her family. She is the sole owner, starting The Islander Bookshop with that value set to provide a welcoming place for family, friends, and community to enjoy this island she calls home.
In addition to her work life, Melissa enjoys kayaking, camping, reading, and writing children’s books for her two kiddos. The bookshop has been a dream of hers since 2011. The most enjoyable aspect of the bookshop so far is seeing people’s faces light up when they start sharing stories about their favorite book.