Hilltop tries out its first book event

by Zoe Sophia Gray
Posted 8/6/21

Hilltop hopes to soon stage more events as restrictions ease, including readings, play groups, author events, poetry slams, and book clubs.

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Hilltop tries out its first book event


Glasses and snow cones were raised at Hilltop Books on July 24th to celebrate the release of Chestnut Hill Local publisher John Derr’s debut novel Another Christmas Carol.  This was the first author event since the used bookshop officially opened in April, and they plan to use it as a model for more events in coming months.

Hilltop hopes to stage more events as restrictions ease, including readings, play groups, author events, poetry slams, and book clubs. Operated by the Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library, the plans have been inspired by the Chestnut Hill Library’s speaker series, with writers, experts, and professors coming to share with the community, and hopes to be able to build off of that history. Hilltop is currently partway through a 6-week baby sign language class for families, hosted on Tuesday mornings before the store opens. They also plan to host a poetry reading in the backyard in mid- to late-August.

They have expressed flexibility in how these events might be planned and structured, based on the comfort levels of those attending and caution as CDC and state guidelines evolve regarding COVID safety protocols. Just last week, Hilltop instituted a new mask policy, asking patrons to mask up and stay safe in light of recent developments. They encourage Chestnut Hill community members to reach out and let them know what the general comfort level is with a return to in-person events, to tailor events to the response of the community.

The existence of their curated backyard space gives opportunities for safe outdoor events as the summer continues.

Written on the wall above the doorframe in looping cursive are the words: “A gift from the Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library.”  Since the grand opening of Hilltop Books at 84 Bethlehem Pike in April, the community has come together to show its support for the local independent used bookshop. Community members have donated to restock the store’s supply and ensure a frequently cycled inventory. Dedicated volunteers from the community have staffed the shop and devoted energy and time to its care since its inception. Now, with new events on the horizon, Chestnut Hill book lovers have another way to engage and show their support.

Author John Derr (publisher of the Local) signed copies of his novel and answered questions from attendees. Book lovers gathered inside the charmingly decorated main room, among the display tables and twee decor supplied by Isabella Sparrow. Whether standing inside, trading puns about Dickens (“Do you have great expectations for the book?”), or enjoying wine and cheeses in the backyard, event-goers had the opportunity to fully appreciate the space.

The Library is currently closed, but it is still hosting outdoor story time. Hilltop Books is closely linked to the Chestnut Hill Library, as every book sale directly supports the Library financially– another fact that has incentivized the community’s support in the store.

You can support Hilltop by donating books, buying the store a gift off their Amazon Wishlist, volunteering, and keeping an  eye out for their upcoming events this summer.


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