Inside Santa Cruz’s First Spanish Bookstore

Pablo Helguera only thought his art project would run for a few months. But six years later, he’s still collecting books and getting invitations to set up shop in cities across the U.S.

Helguera, a New York-based artist, opened the first Spanish-language bookstore in Brooklyn, Librería Donceles, to address a lack of bookstores that serve the growing Hispanic and Latin communities in the United States.

“Books are quickly disappearing. Brick-and-mortar bookstores are having a hard time keeping up with giants like Amazon,” Helguera says. “The experience of the book has completely changed, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t appreciate the very physical, sensory experience of the book. That can’t be transmitted online. Through this art project, I am trying to create an experience of reading and learning and living that I feel is getting lost.”

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