Organize An Event

Thank you for your interest in holding an event at Word Up Community Bookshop!

Our shop exists by and for the community of Washington Heights, and we would love to provide a space for you to bring what you have to offer the community. When you fill out the form at the bottom of this page, it will help us understand how you wish to use our community space. We will do what we can to accommodate your requests.

If you have not organized an event at Word Up before, then please read our Frequently Asked Questions below. If on the other hand, you’re a Word Up Events-Organizing Veteran, please feel free to skip ahead to the events form.


What types of events does Word Up host?
As a multi-language, general-use bookshop in Washington Heights, we focus on events that foster literary and artistic engagement with the community. All events are open to the public.

Will you host my book release, reading, or signing? Album release or music performance? Film screening?
Please consider whether you could draw a crowd in our neighborhood. If not,  then 1) we encourage you to begin building an audience at our open mic events, or 2) we expect that you will find another contributor or two to help promote and ultimately draw a larger crowd. Please talk to potential contributors before filling out the form and include all relevant bios when filling out the form below. Please also be prepared to deliver a review copy of your latest work.

How soon may I book an event?
Bearing in mind that we are all volunteers and that it takes a lot of work from many different (unpaid) people to keep this operation running, we ask that you give us at least two months to help organize and promote your event; and please be patient with us, as it may take 3 or 4 days for us to respond to any given message. If you already have dates and times in mind, please check our store hours (in the left frame of this website) and calendar for availability.

What kind of promotion does Word Up provide?
You are responsible for promoting your event and are encouraged to invite your contacts via Facebook, to create and drop off flyers at Word Up, to post to our Facebook page, to make a press release, etc. We will do our best to create a Facebook page for your event, and to mention it in our blog and weekly email newsletter, but, as a volunteer-run nonprofit retail space, we cannot guarantee full promotion for all events.

Will it cost me anything to hold an event at Word Up?
For events with merchandise sales (see May I sell my books or other merchandise? above), there is no fee for the event. For events with no sales (i.e., music performances, open mics, classes, etc.), we require a minimum donation (TBD depending on time commitment) be made to the store. For events that take place outside of normal operating hours, please contact for exact pricing and availability.

May I charge for events?
We very rarely charge for events, because we do not want to close the store off to shoppers and community members who are not there for the event. If you wish to ask for a cover charge, the “Suggested Donation” or “Pay-What-You-Can” models are ideal. Please allow for our volunteers to give a quick spiel about Word Up some time during your event and take up donations, which should be split with Word Up (typically 60/40). Please bear in mind that we are a volunteer-operated space that survives largely on donations.

May I sell my books or other merchandise?
Of course! We are happy to sell your materials before, during, and after your event on a consignment basis. Please be prepared to deliver them to the store in advance of your event, for promotional purposes. We ask that sales of merchandise (books, electronic media, t-shirts, stickers, etc) be split with Word Up 60/40. Please bear in mind that we are a volunteer-operated space that survives largely on donations.

What equipment do you have?
1 Mic
1 Amp
1 Speaker
1 Projector (InFocus DLP with VGA, S-video, USB, and DVI inputs)
Projection screen
DVD player

Does Word Up have tables and chairs for events?
Yes, we have seating that can accommodate up to 35 people. Our volunteers will help you set them up as you wish. The space itself does not allow for more than this, though there will be more standing room behind the chairs. Please don’t offer to rent and bring in more chairs. This is a safety issue, which unfortunately we can’t be flexible on. We also have several tables of different sizes and shapes, which may be used for workshops, displaying merchandise, crafting, etc.

May I hang art, photos, posters, etc. on the walls?
We have a monthly gallery rotation in our performance space. If you are an artist or photographer interested in hanging a gallery exhibit, then we’ll happily review your work and discuss possibilities. Otherwise, we ask that event organizers respect the art that they find on the walls and do not hang anything else which may disturb or distract from the gallery or sales floor. If there is an essential visual component to your event, then please consider using easels or other means of displaying the works.

May I rearrange or alter the space in other ways for my event?
It really depends. Make a note of what you have in mind when you fill out the events form, and we’ll be happy to discuss possibilities with you.

Am I expected to maintain the space and clean up?
Your event should not interfere with the normal operations of the store. When you are leaving, please return everything to its usual place and clean up any spills. Make sure to take any food or trash away with you. Leave the space in as good condition as you found it.

May I have food and drinks at my event?
Yes, you may provide food for your event, but we ask that it be available only by donation, or free, rather than as a required charge.

May I have beer/wine/alcohol at my event?
We do not have a liquor license at this time.

May I light candles (or otherwise use fire)?
Sorry, but no. We don’t wish to test out our sprinkler system and potentially destroy all of our stock merchandise!

Does Word Up have a restroom open to the public?
Yes, we have one restroom and it is wheelchair accessible.

May I host an event that includes explicit or controversial content?
We want to welcome all kinds of art and expression; at the same time, all ages and types of people use Word Up. We ask that contributors be sensitive to this fact. If your event will contain explicit content, please make an announcement at the start of the event, so that audience members can use their discretion. Hate speech of any kind is not welcome; if you’re not sure about the propriety of your content, please simply be sure that it honors our safe space policy.

May I hold a private event and/or rent the space during your closed hours?
Depends! Private events during our open hours can be touchy, but we are a bit more flexible with them during our closed hours. Please note our open/closed hours and be aware that we typically charge a $75–100 rental fee for off-hours events. If you are still interested in renting our space, please proceed to fill out the form and make a note of your interest in space rental. If you are a school or non-arts community group and would like to use the shop during daytime hours, please contact

Did you read and understand all the FAQs? If so, it will really streamline our upcoming communications. If you did not read them very carefully, then please click here to go back to the top. If you have any additional questions about hosting an event at Word Up, please include them in your form submission below.

You should receive a response in a few days. We appreciate your patience.


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