Since opening our doors 9 years ago, Libri e Formiche has been Parma’s premier children’s bookstore. Since our very beginning we have strived to stand out for the high quality of our books and games, as well as for our passionate promotion of reading and childhood. Much more than just a retail outlet, three qualities define our mission: building lasting relationships with our dedicated customers, a profound respect and care for childhood, and the liberty of choice derived from our independent status.
In the course of the years our bookstore has grown and matured in the community. Today we can proudly claim to have won an important place in our city’s social fabric and in the hearts of many young and not-so-young citizens.
Unfortunately, the current economic standstill, combined with market forces that penalise independent storefronts like our own, has led us to an unsustainable situation. We are now considering the drastic step of closing our doors for good.
However, we believe more than ever that the bookseller is not only a point of sale; more importantly it is a place for exchanging ideas and for stimulating culture. This belief, fortified by our loyal customers, has convinced us to continue our efforts and to make the changes required for our ongoing existence. We do not want to let down our community.
After long and detailed consideration and a lively exchange with our local patrons we have come to two very important conclusions:
Those who know us fervently want not only that our shop survive but that it remain solidly anchored in its identity as Parma’s specialty bookstore.
A renewal of the bookstore requires a higher visibility and a more central physical presence in the city—we need to move closer to the heart of Parma. We have identified such a location in the town centre, but a relocation requires an investment aimed at adapting the structure to the needs of a children’s bookstore.
What will the new Libri e Formiche be like?
The new shop will be smaller than our current location, but it will maintain its colourful, inviting ambience. Libri e Formiche will remain faithful to the values that have always made it unique in Parma: paying particular attention to books full of beauty and significance; the choice of games that last both in the playroom and in the child’s memory; the quest for a slower pace, a refuge for today’s children.
On the other hand, we have in store some new touches for readers of all ages. We have done our homework: our community of readers, patrons and followers have in the last few months left us their enthusiastic suggestions. Bringing life to these simple suggestions, as well as to those ideas we have gleaned from encounters with independent booksellers in other parts of the world, will help us build Libri e Formiche’s uniqueness.
The realisation of our dream needs the combined contribution of many: of those friends and patrons who have supported us through the years, of those curious souls who do not know us yet, and especially of those customers who appreciate a bookseller who reads the books he sells before recommending them.
In the past few months we have been bombarded with requests to help save Libri e Formiche, and now has come the time to unite our forces. We are ready to work like all good “ants”!
“Be like ants yourselves and defend your history!”(Fabrizio Silei)
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Annalisa is the master tinkerer: from bookkeeping to organising events, from taking care of patrons to shipping…she has concluded that broad shoulders are part of running a bookstore. Antonella is the “elder” but often possesses more Energy than the other two combined: Her specialties are the back office and keeping up with children’s games. Anna: is the youngest “ant” rapidly on her way to becoming a pillar of the bookstore.
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