The Erie Used Book Universe is Expanding
Find your next read and a friendly face at Werner Books and Coffee's new space
The aroma inside the newly expanded Werner Books, a familiar sight in the Liberty Plaza since 2010, is the perfect combination of the charming musk of used books and the richness of freshly ground coffee (ie. the greatest smell amalgamation in the world), and it warmly welcomes all upon entering. This weekend marks the store's grand re-opening celebration, as they have expanded and improved upon their business while only moving a few storefronts away, within the same plaza.
Purchased from the original owner Gayle Werner in 2022, owners Kyle Churman and Lauren Shoemaker (both of whom were named to Erie's 40 Under 40 list in 2023) have worked tirelessly in the past few weeks to pack up and move the entire contents of their bookstore south a short walk. In doing so they've added a significant amount of space (approximately double) which allows room for plenty of cozy nooks for gathering, working, and reading, an expanded children's area with a chalkboard wall encouraging creativity (and conveniently occupying tiny minds, allowing parents a moment to browse the ample bookshelves), as well as a fully stocked, fully staffed cafe serving locally roasted coffees, teas, lemonades, and pastries.
Churman and Shoemaker have filled a niche in Erie: a bookstore selling both new and used books (so there's a predictable inventory while also offering something affordable for everyone) and, by adding the cafe element, they've created a space to browse leisurely, or sit and enjoy your newly purchased book with a well-crafted beverage.
Shoemaker and Churman have made a significant effort to be involved in the community, aside from simply operating a business from a storefront. They regularly participate in local markets – like the bi-weekly LEAF Open Markets at Frontier Park, where they sell used books (often in their signature "blind date" format – wrapped in brown paper with a vague description written on the front – you just have to take a chance) and offering children's storytimes with Miss Ginny (a retired kindergarten teacher) and market scavenger hunts.
They also oversee five public book clubs spanning a number of subcultures throughout the Erie community including: Aging with Pride, Books and Beers (which partners with local brew dudes Erie Ale Works), Groundwork Erie, Three Tulips Yarn Company Book Club, and their Wednesday Morning Book Club. They also host a regular poetry open mic organized with local poet Ms. Mabeline (Mabel Howard) and partner with local schools to host Scholastic Book Fairs. Werner also offers local art for sale through Glass Growers Gallery as well as bags of custom, locally roasted coffee from North Edge Craft Coffee.
Werner will also be hosting a full slate of locally authored book signings in the coming weeks including The Senator's Daughter by E.P. Livingston, White Sandals in the Snow by Billie Fae Gerard Gill, Lights by Brenna Thummler, and Charlie Ryan's Forever Friends by Samantha Randall.
Churman comments on Werner's place in the community, "The sign of a thriving community are libraries, bookstores, and access to information. By providing a great used book store, coffee shop, and community event space, we hope to be a part of the literary and intellectual development of Erie."
Werner Books and Coffee's new location is open now at 3608 Liberty Street. Bookstore hours are: Monday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cafe is open the same weekend hours and opens on weekdays at 7:30 a.m.
For more information on hours, book clubs, menus, and more, visit: wernerbooks.com