Word Up store hours suspended through March 31

Community is in our name. And while we normally want to spread love the Uptown way . . . right now, “community spread” of COVID-19 is precisely what we need to quash. While one may seem healthy and/or asymptomatic, it’s still possible for them to put others at risk. And we don’t want to do that—to our fellow collective members, to our visitors and customers, to our events organizers and authors and community partners. While we want to remain open as a resource for our communities, we would be potentially compromising the health of those same communities. . . . It would be a huge violation of our own safe space policy!

So we’re temporarily closing Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria to the public as of today at 5pm, till at least March 31, 2020. Over the next week, we’ll continue to monitor the situation as we socially distance with an abundance of caution, and we’ll update you on our reopening plans as soon as we can.

Further, all events scheduled through April 13th are being canceled or postponed.

You should know that we will miss you very much! From the very start, we’ve been a gathering place above all, and the connections formed here have kept many of us buoyed through trying times. Our collective’s default instinct is often to gather, yet for the time being, we will not. . . . At the same time, we have been exhausted by this news in the world and among our families, and could use the break—to support our mental health, to shore up our physical health, and, if able, to help others more in need.

You should also know that this closure will affect our income greatly. Though we have a diversity of income streams—including donations and grants—book sales are still our highest, in part because of the offsite events we staff around the city (including at all those closed colleges) and in part because of our in-store events. If you are kicking around at home and online, please consider buying books from our website. Better yet, join our membership program, and you can get 10%-20% discounts on the books you buy online from us! You can also support us with a tax-deductible donation.

Also: although we would love it if you bought books, we understand you may have other priorities at this time. We are interested to know what you need, so we, as a collective, can brainstorm ways we can help during this unique moment. Please let us know by emailing us at info@wordupbooks.com.

Though the shop itself will be closed for the time being, we aren’t going to stop trying to share information with you. And one of the biggest things to know is that the US Census website is live! You can take the census at my2020census.gov. You can also take the census on the phone at 844-330-2020 in English (844-468-2020 en español), to make sure you are counted, so that all those healthcare dollars can be properly allocated for at least the next 10 years. And if you do fill out the census, let us know you did here!

Now that we can’t tell as many people in person, we are asking you to please help us spread the word about the 2020 Census. If you are interested in joining a conference call about how you can help Word Up with promoting the census in this time of pandemic, please let us know here, and we will let you know when we set up the virtual meeting.

Thank you always, for everything you do, and have done, to support us.
❤ Word Up

***CANCELLED***March 19 – Kiskeya Ayiti: ReImagining Resistance, Revolution and Reconciliation Book & Video Club


The March reading is Edwidge Danticat’s Everything Inside as we reveal and look into the depths of ourselves when confronted with death, dying and honoring those who passed on. Available at Word Up and WordUpBooks.com.Kiskeya Ayiti: ReImagining Resistance, Revolution and Reconciliation Book & Video Club –  Through book, film and panel discussions, we will dive deep into conversations to unlearn and decolonize healing individually and collectively from the traumas of racism.

Dominicans Love Haitians Movement is an art-based non-profit organization using various art modalities as an antiracist tool. Our goal is to celebrate our commonalities, honour our differences, and dismantle racialized discrimination, bias and prejudice forging a future free from tyranny.
FB: facebook.com/dominicanslovehaitians
Instagram: @dominicanslovehaitiansmovement, @drloveshaiti

Kiskeya Ayiti: ReImagining Resistance, Revolution and Reconciliation Book & Video Club
Thursday, March 19, 2020
6:00-8:30 pm
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
2113 Amsterdam Ave. @ 165th St.
New York NY 10032

***CANCELLED***March 21 – inQluded presents: Saturday Sessions


join us on saturday at word up books + work alongside other queer creatives!! bring a work in progress, build community + potential critique partners. this saturday session is open to all queer identifying folx. **this space is safe for aro/ace, intersex and nonbinary folx**

inQluded presents: Saturday Sessions
Saturday, March 21, 2020
3:30-5:30 pm
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
2113 Amsterdam Ave. @ 165th St.
New York NY 10032

Preparing for COVID-19

Paper-cut “Wash Up!/¡Lávate las manos!” by Jerise Fogel, March 2020. Word Up customer bathroom door.

March 10, 2020

Dear fellow community members,

As concern grows over the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and as more people test positive for the virus in NYC, we at Word Up are monitoring the situation and following recommendations from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NYC Department of Health. We are also examining guidelines for public libraries, schools, and local organizations for best practices in our community. In general, we are hoping that the procedures we are outlining below will help us prevent all kinds of illnesses, not just COVID-19! Also: if anything changes about our situation, we will send out an email and post on social media as soon as possible.

As a GATHERING SPACE, we are doing the following:

  • Requesting volunteers and staff to stay home if they feel sick. (We encourage all visitors to do the same!)
  • Disinfecting knobs, handles, and frequently used surfaces regularly.
  • Encouraging staff, volunteers, event organizers, and customers to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with provided soap, upon entering the space.
  • Providing hand sanitizer at the counter and by the door.
  • Encouraging community members to reach out to NYC Well at 888-692-9355 if they are feeling stressful or emotional.
  • Doing our best to livestream events, as requested.
  • Asking event organizers who want to bring snacks to events to make sure foods do not require mingling hands—in other words, if you want pretzels and chips, bring your own!
  • Staying informed about cases and updates in the neighborhood, and posting relevant updates to Instagram and Facebook.

Please note that some of our EVENTS have been canceled by organizers due to travel concerns. When such updates occur, we will mark them “canceled” or “postponed” on our events calendar, then will eventually remove the canceled event listings. Please check THIS CALENDAR for the most updated information on events.

If you were planning to attend our Census Kickoff Party on Thursday, March 12th, please note that it is still on, though scaled back and outsideSo please still come by to take the census—or to let us know you already took it—and we can pass along some free food, books, music, and air high fives. 🙂

Finally, if you want to continue supporting us from home, please order books through our website, WordUpBooks.com!

Word Up Collective

***CANCELLED*** March 18 – #DominicanWriters Book Club with Naima Coster

This event will take place on Skype—more details coming soon!

Order the book online: https://www.wordupbooks.com/book/9781503941168

#DominicanWriters Book Club March book of the month is Halsey Street by Naima Coster, who will be in conversation with JP Infante. Each attendee is welcome to a free book provided by TwentyTwenty Books. Please mention #DominicanWriters at Word Up to receive your free book.

About Halsey Street
*Finalist for the Kirkus Prize for Fiction.
Penelope Grand has scrapped her failed career as an artist in Pittsburgh and moved back to Brooklyn to keep an eye on her ailing father. She’s accepted that her future won’t be what she’d dreamed, but now, as gentrification has completely reshaped her old neighborhood, even her past is unrecognizable. Old haunts have been razed, and wealthy white strangers have replaced every familiar face in Bed-Stuy. Even her mother, Mirella, has abandoned the family to reclaim her roots in the Dominican Republic. That took courage. It’s also unforgivable.

When Penelope moves into the attic apartment of the affluent Harpers, she thinks she’s found a semblance of family–and maybe even love. But her world is upended again when she receives a postcard from Mirella asking for reconciliation. As old wounds are reopened, and secrets revealed, a journey across an ocean of sacrifice and self-discovery begins.

An engrossing debut, Halsey Street shifts between the perspectives of these two captivating, troubled women. Mirella has one last chance to win back the heart of the daughter she’d lost long before leaving New York, and for Penelope, it’s time to break free of the hold of the past and start navigating her own life.

About Naima Coster
Naima Coster is an Afro-Dominican-American writer best known for her novels Halsey Street and What’s Mind and Yours. Naima’s stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Rumpus, Aster(ix), Kweli, The Paris Review Daily, and elsewhere. She has taught writing to students in jail, youth programs, and universities. She currently teaches in the MFA programs at City College in Harlem and Antioch University in L.A., as well as Catapult.

About JP Infante
JP is a high school teacher and writer in New York City. He’s taught at the City University of New York and teaches writing workshops throughout the city. His writing can be found in Kweli, The Poetry Project, Acentos Review, Post(blank) magazine, Rigorous, Dominican Writers, Ritmo Que Late Anthology, Uptown Collective, Manhattan Times, Bronx Free Press, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext Anthology and elsewhere.

About #DominicanWriters
Dominican Writers Association is a platform dedicated to supporting and promoting the works by CREATIVE writers of Dominican descent in the genres of Fiction, Poetry & Creative non-fiction. Our mission is to provide them the tools and resources to continue developing their craft and reach the heights of the literary cannon.
Dominican Writers Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization as of April 2019

#DominicanWriters Book Club with Naima Coster
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
6:30-8:30 pm
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
2113 Amsterdam Ave. @ 165th St.
New York NY 10032