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SAVE MODERN TIMES: the final frontier
Friday, January 24, 2014 @ 12:05 am - 11:55 pm
Modern Times is in a fundraising push, including Indiegogo and a major donor campaign, to keep our doors open. Without financial solvency, it is possible that our 43rd year will be our last!
Things you can do:
1. Donate to our indiegogo campaign at http://igg.me/at/save-modern-times
2. BUY BOOKS, in the store. When your first thought is “but I could get it cheaper online,” remember that the couple extra dollars you pay are a couple dollars that say “I support a local economy; I support collective visioning; I support a space in San Francisco that embraces activism, political organizing, and the people’s struggle; I support shelfspace for POC writers, queer writers, self published writers, political agitators, and small presses.”
3. If you have access to large amounts of money, ask us about higher-level donations and tax deductions.
4. Become a monthly sustainer: http://moderntimesbookstore.com/community-resources/donate/
5. TELL YOUR FRIENDS. All of them. Spread the word!
6. Volunteer with us.
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San Francisco’s left literary treasure, Modern Times Bookstore, has been one of the most progressive independent bookstores in North America since its opening in 1971. For the past several years it has been operating at a loss, and is now facing a severe financial crisis that threatens its very existence. Modern Times has mounted an aggressive campaign to save the bookstore.
As a progressive resource for the Bay Area, Modern Times believes it has a responsibility to maintain an in-depth collection on local, national, and world politics and economics, and to stay ahead of the curve on new social and cultural movements. Modern Times was the first bookstore in the city to feature a feminist section as well as a queer section, and developed the City’s first broad selection of Spanish-language literature and non-fiction.
The bookstore not only has a celebrated history but a unique presence today: located in the cultural heart of San Francisco’s Mission District on 24th Street, it reaches a wide variety of communities through weekly events and the provision of space for cutting edge authors to read and grassroots groups to meet. Like many businesses in the Mission, and like many independent bookstores, survival is a constant challenge. The Latino/a community is under threat from gentrification, but remains the dominant demographic group of the neighborhood – and Modern Times continues to feature Spanish-language books and provide monthly Spanish-language classes.
With the threat to independent booksellers from Amazon and online sales, Modern Times realized that maintaining a strong and viable independent bookstore was in many ways the most politically effective thing it could do. With small and independent presses fighting similar battles, a large percentage of Modern Times’ titles come from small presses – thus linking the survival of the bookstore to that of independent presses.
As Modern Times Events Coordinator Lex Non Scripta says, “There is no other place in the City like Modern Times. We’re the oldest collectively operated bookstore in the United States, one of very few bookstores in SF and the country that offers curated sections devoted to radical and progressive politics, critical race studies, queer theory, and leftist literature in Spanish. We’ve been committed to providing meeting space, resources, and support to non-profits as well as rogue political organizers since day one, and we continue that dedication, especially in the current climate where our overlapping communities are actively being displaced or are on the brink of displacement.”
Modern Times is moving forward with a comprehensive business model and carefully constructed plans so that the bookstore can not only survive but thrive in the future. The bookstore is ready to implement new goals for an inviting and unique community space that reaches both the older and newer Mission communities – and the broader progressive community of San Francisco. In the meantime, it must raise $100,000 to pay down a debt incurred through high rent that couldn’t be met through daily book sales.
There are several ways to help save Modern Times: an online fundraising campaign has been initiated on Indiegogo at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/save-modern-times-books. To make a tax-deductible contribution, write a check to their fiscal sponsor PeaceKey, Inc. (with Modern Times in the memo line of the check) and send to Modern Times, 2919 24th Street, SF, CA 94110. Or go to the website http://www.MTBS.com for further details. Finally, Modern Times welcomes new visitors and volunteers to help with the campaign to save the bookstore.