Earlier this month we learned that the controversy surrounding a bookstore in Asheville, which was the site of a needle exchange program, was cited for violating zoning rules in the area. WLOS reported that an agreement was reached between Firestorm Bookstore, the Steady Collective and the City of Asheville.
Concerns for public health and the use of the space as a “homeless shelter” were main arguments against the program and it was said the services were in line with zoning violations because the bookstore was acting more like the city’s definition of a shelter.
It seems the agreement was reached (see more details at the link below) so the Needle Exchange program can continue. While there are differing opinions on this issue and both sides do have genuine concerns, I do like the idea of a local bookstore providing a service to their community.
While my intent isn’t to weigh in on the complaints and support of this program or the controversy/disagreement between the parties involved, I again, love when a bookstore can become an asset to a local community. While libraries obviously have more funding for public outreach and programs to help the public, personally, I’m always happy when a bookstore is there to help with things like fundraising, a charitable event, providing resources, or even helping areas of their community that may be underserved or on the outskirts.
Bookstores can become community hubs, just like any small business, so supporting them is always important since it has so many layers when it comes to community enrichment. Providing access to literature, supporting a small business owner, providing avenues for donations or local events, hosting local authors or community members are just a few ways in which a local bookstore can be beneficial.
For more information: https://wlos.com/news/local/firestorm-steady-collective-city-of-asheville-reach-agreement-in-needle-exchange-dispute