By Gene Crunk
Square Books is known far and wide by both locals and visitors. To celebrate its 40 years of service to the LOU community, the landmark establishment launched its fourth location “Rare Square Books.”
Richard and Lisa Howorth opened Square Books in 1979, followed by Off Square Books and Square Books Jr. Now the couple looks forward to their newest addition.
Rare Square Books held its grand opening event Saturday. Located above Square Books Junior on the east side of the square, the new store features books that are uncommon, antique, or out-of-print.
The new store gives off the same distinct vibe as the original Square Books, but its merchandise is oftentimes much more special.
“Everything here is largely out of print and, to some degree or another, collectible,” Richard Howorth said. “Some of them are expensive and some of them are not.”
Howorth said that while some valuable items will be locked in a glass case, most items are on regular shelves and can be picked up by customers. Anyone is welcome to come in and see what the store has to offer.
Since the opening of their family’s third store, Square Books Jr., in 2003, Howorth said he hoped to expand even further. When this space—which was the original home of Square Books in 1979—became available, Howorth said it was just the right time.
“It’s something that we’ve considered doing for a number of years,” Howorth said.
He said that he had been collecting merchandise to sell in the new store for “a long period of time.”
Although growing a successful fourth store is important, Howorth and his team are also working towards another goal. With the help of several Oxford families, Rare Square Books is planning to support local charities.
Several Oxford families have donated their personal libraries to the store, and Howorth and his business are using these collections to give back to the community. The store plans to donate up to half of the proceeds from selected libraries to charities of each donor’s choice.
The main Square Books store is housed in a two-story location on the south side of the Square. It has a café inside and often allows customers to visit its balcony overlooking the historic Oxford Square.
Square Books Junior opened in 2003 and serves as the business children’s store. The Howorths also own Off Square Books, which opened in 1992 and sells lifestyle and leisure content.
Patrons can visit the new store between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. any day this month. Hours and times may vary in the coming months, Howorth said.