Take a Look, It’s in a Book, A Guide to Harlem’s Best Bookstores and Libraries – Harlem World Magazine

Do you have those days when you’re at home and there’s nothing on TV, nothing worth your time on the internet or social media, or you’re not even in the mood to play video games ?

There is always the possibility of reading a book. You can escape to another world and learn about the past, present and future.

Reading can also benefit your mental health and exercise your brain.

So, whenever you are in Harlem, here are some bookstores and libraries you can check out.

Revolution Books

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This bookstore is heavily focused on challenging politics, so if you are unhappy with our government, not a big fan of our former president, and thinking of starting a revolution.

This place will add fuel to your fire.

Point: If you don’t have time to visit, you can always shop.

Revolution Books, 437 Malcolm X Blvd / Lenox Ave at 132n/a Street, Harlem, NY, 212.691.3345, https://www.revolutionbooksnyc.org/, Instagram, TwitterFacebook

Sister’s Uptown Bookstore

Owned by a dynamic duo Janifer P. Wilson and Kori N. Wilson.

These two are dedicated to providing resources to the community by nurturing and exchanging information and ideas from books by African American authors. Their motto is “Knowledge is the key”.

They are open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Point: The store is unfortunately closed to the public due to COVID-19.

Sister’s Uptown Bookstore, 1942 Amsterdam Avenue, Harlem, New York, 212.862.3680, http://www.sistersuptownbookstore.com/, Instagram.com/sistersuptown,

Harlem Library

The Harlem branch has been around since 1826, when Harlem was an isolated village. This library is one of the first to be incorporated into the New York Public Library branch system.

The three-story building has reading rooms for adults and young adults. A children’s room is located on the second floor with a separate story time area for the children’s program.

Point: Check out the 74-seat auditorium on the third floor where they offer free movies and other programs.

Harlem Library, 9 west 124e Street, Harlem, NY, https://www.nypl.org/locations/harlem, 212.348.5620

At Grandma’s house

Grandma’s Place is not only a bookstore but also a toy store.

Open since 1999, this place is known for its educational books, toys, dolls, educational guides and games. giving kids not only something fun, but also a piece of Harlem to learn.

The store owner is Dawn Crosby Harris-Martine AKA Grandma Dawn. (Yes, she has grandchildren, but in my opinion, she’s a grandmother to the whole community.)

Point: Don’t forget that Grandma Dawn has a YouTube channel that provides tips on reading and kids, and a great bookstore/toy store.

At Grandma’s house, 84 West 120e Street, Harlem, NY, 212.360.6776, https://www.grandmasplaceinharlem.com/, Facebook

book culture

This independent company was founded as Labyrinth Books in 1997 by current owner Chris Doeblin and has since flourished as Book Culture.

Although this company had multiple locations in New York, the original opened at 536 W. 112th Street in Harlem and is still there today.

It has a variety of books and genres. The store even has its own “kids reading room” with toys, games, puzzles and art supplies.

According to the website, it’s a fun place to meet people who have similar interests in books.

Point: The location in Harlem is its original location.

book culture, 536 W. 112th Street in Harlem, New York, 212.865.1588, https://www.bookculture.com/

Schomburg Center for Research on Black Culture

Named after Afro-Puerto Rican scholar Arturo Alfonso Schomburg.

This research library is a historical landmark and is one of the world’s leading cultural institutions dedicated to the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African Americans, the African Diaspora, and African experiences. .

Point: In addition to research services, the center hosts a large selection of readings, discussions, art exhibitions and theatrical events.

Schomburg Center for Research on Black Culture, 515, boul. Malcolm X (135e Street and Malcolm X Blvd), Harlem, NY, 212.491.2265, https://www.nypl.org/locations/schomburg


If you’re in Harlem and feel like stepping away from your TV, staring at your phone, and reading a book, I recommend checking out one of these bookstores or libraries.

The more you read, it will eventually become a productive habit and your mind will benefit. So, which place caught your attention?

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