I have a few fond memories surrounding Fairfield’s downtown bookstore but one, in particular, stands out. My freshman year, I was doing homework in the Starbucks on Post Road, inside the bookstore, and the first snow of the season started. A friend of mine who was an exchange student from Australia jumped up from his chair, ran outside and started running up and down the street with hands stretched out wide shouting, “It’s snowing! It’s snowing!”
Though it’s a bit away from campus, the downtown Fairfield bookstore is still an important part of the larger Fairfield community and just this Saturday on Nov. 13, the bookstore turned 10 years old, with the University celebrating in full force.
There was a welcome ceremony, where different Fairfield staff and administrators, along with those who work within Fairfield County’s local government spoke about some of the history of the bookstore and its impact on the community.
Once that wrapped up, there was a storytime for kids with books read from some Fairfield athletes.
Kids could also participate with some crafts and an author signing with Lizzy Rockwell. Oh, and did I mention that there was a balloon artist there? Kids could just go up and select something to be made right before their eyes.
Though all exciting, it’s important to focus on how the staff at the bookstore feels about reaching ten years.
Nancy Quinn, special events & community relations coordinator has worked at the store for eight and a half years. She tells me that her duty has “…been all about forging relationships and bringing people together.”
“I’ve had the privilege of working closely with and learning from event planning genius Craig Kennedy, numerous managers, Bookstore associates that have come and gone, and The Bookstore’s biggest cheerleader Steve Gaynes— who was always ready to hop into a costume character when needed,” Quinn shares.
She continues that it’s been a “privilege” to work with all of the people that she has over the years. From the authors to artists to musicians to town officials and schools and the entire Fairfield University community.
“The opportunity to represent Fairfield University, Follett and my hometown of Fairfield have been the most rewarding years of my adult life,” said Quinn.
Quinn states that “We would need a 10 volume book to list the plethora of events created and hosted over the years,” but highlights a few standouts.
Julie Andrews, Kate DiCamillo, Jan Brett, Dav Pilkey, Mike Lupica, Martha Stewart, Sarah Dessen, Jane Green, Liv Constantine, Lizzy and Anne Rockwell, Rosemary Wells, Tim Green, Laurie Halse Anderson, Delia Owens and Ivan Maisel… are just a few celebrities that visited our downtown bookstore.
Quinn continued, “…not to mention all the Campus faculty author events, One-Book-One Town, and Quick Center Open Visions Forum events we’ve participated in, thanks to the support and efforts over the years of Jim Fitzpatrick, Elizabeth Hastings, Lori Jones, Peter Van Heerden, and Philip Eliasoph.”
Quinn continues by highlighting their event “Our Kids Story Time” that grew from just “10 kids sitting around a small table listening to a story ready by our staff to hosting 60+ kids during our Downtown Cabaret Story Times.”
The bookstore continues to have fun events like “Read Across America” with University Athletes, Waldo Scavenger Hunts, Star Wars Reads Day, two town-wide Read-Aloud during the Holidays, Grinch Story Time, The Nutcracker Story Time with the CT Dance School, Zoo Story Time with the Beardsley Zoo and Lizzy Rockwell with a trip to St. Thomas Aquinas School Garden.
Quinn also adds that the bookstore does more than just sell books, but they showcase art in the stairwell leading up to the second floor. They’ve also hosted the 375th Fairfield Community Group Art Exhibit, the Fairfield University 75th Exhibit and the teachers and students from Fairfield Public School Art classes.
They’ve also even used the coveted Starbucks space to host Live Musicians.
“I could go on and on,” Quinn adds, “But mostly I’d like to thank our loyal customers for their patronage over the years especially during the pandemic. We are here to serve you and thank you for all your support over the years!”