Indigo Bridge Books began from a simple idea for a bilingual story time. We were standing in the parking lot of El Chaparro discussing the great impact reading has on a child’s life, and we wanted to create an open space for a bilingual Spanish-English story time. Many Latino families have settled in central Lincoln with over 40% of Everett Elementary students being English language learners from primarily Spanish-speaking families. This idea grew into a desire for the bookstore to serve as a community resource in additional ways. We wanted to help create an adventurous, creative, and fun learning environment for all children that encouraged them to be free thinkers.
We decided on our downtown location in hopes of bringing together a cross-section of Lincoln’s population. Within our space, local children assisted us in shaping the environment of the building by painting chairs and a reading table. We also invited them to add their unique artistic touches to the tree that stands in the center of the store. This tree was designed and created by artist and Lincoln native, Toby Hollingsworth Thomas.
Our interests were also fueled by reading about 826 Valencia, a writing workshop for kids in San Francisco, created by Dave Eggers as a space that provides after-school tutoring and daytime field trips. The purpose of this workshop is to teach children ages six to eighteen essential writing skills, thereby helping both students and teachers find confidence and enjoyment of writing through language arts.
We also found local inspiration from the Impact Reading Center, which pairs an adult reading mentor with a child from an under-served public school. The Center has been pivotal in significantly improving reading skills for the children involved. The hope of the Impact Reading Center is “that every student in Lincoln’s Public Schools is reading at or above grade level.”
From the beginning, we have had a reason and purpose for opening Indigo Bridge Books. Our mission is tied into our name. It symbolizes one of the biggest hopes for the store: to build a stronger community that reaches past the divisions of neighborhoods, social classes, political ambitions, religious beliefs, ethnicities, national borders, and even languages.