By Patrizia Cherici
“Reading has been a passion that has excited me since I was a child and also helped me to escape from the sad days that sometimes came in adolescence: I locked myself in the attic, surrounded by books and read in tranquillity and solitude, finding an excellent cure for my problems.” This is how the story of Laura Senesi, owner of the “Libreria Del Frattempo (In the Meantime bookshop)” begins, describing how the idea of opening a bookstore was born from the love for reading and the desire to convey the beauty that is in this world: in getting lost, escaping from everyday life to find a new dimension – and a safe harbour where to lower the sails.
“La Libreria Del Frattempo – says Laura – was born on July 10, 2009; its name is inspired by a work by Bergonzoni, ‘La cucina del frattempo’ precisely: the ‘meantime’ is a temporal dimension where a person is not in a hurry. And this is precisely the concept that for me a bookshop must express! A place where you can go to find a break from the frenzy that accompanies our daily life: get lost among the shelves, calmly take some books, flip through a few pages, understand if that text is suitable for us, be able to ask for advice or an opinion! A real relationship of complicity is born between me and those interested in buying, so much so that after fourteen years of activity, sometimes I happen to place orders thinking about who might be suitable for one book rather than another! And I’m really pleased when someone comes back and thanks me for the text I recommended to them and wants a new suggestion!
“The trick to proposing ‘the right book’: “It’s about listening to the person in front of you, putting yourself in their shoes and understanding what they need at that particular moment. This leads to a deep knowledge of the subjects so much that a wide circle of people who come to the bookstore are not customers for me, but friends: this is something priceless both for myself and for them! A mistake not to make is to express one’s own judgment on a text: in reality, I consider reading in the same way as cooking; There are many types of dishes and each of us has our own tastes; So it is in books: there are many kinds of reading, the deepest, the lightest, the classic; It’s important to understand what is best for the person in front of you at that precise moment!”
When asked if young people are attracted to reading, Laura replies: “As for young people, I want to spend nice words for them; I would like to point out that I adore young people and I believe that the age that goes from pre-adolescence to 24/25 years is the most beautiful ever: these are years in which boys are very ‘permeable’, so everything positive that you can transmit to them, they make it their own! There are many genres suitable for this age group: they range from children’s literature (much edited lately by the same publishing houses, dealing with extremely topical issues that arouse particular interest in young people), to manga (to which I have dedicated a small corner of the library with the main titles), to “BookTok” (suggestions of texts that are made to children through social media, in particular TikTok) or “Game Books” (it is the same guy who creates the story by reading the book, thus becoming its protagonist). It is necessary to make young people understand that there is an ‘obligatory’ reading that is the one that is done for school, but next to it there is a reading that is done for oneself, for one’s own personal growth and to broaden one’s views”.
“Inside the bookstore you can also find many gift ideas: the Montessori-inspired educational games of ‘Headu’, completely made in Italy with ecological inks and non-toxic materials and covering an age range ranging from 0 to 12 years; the ‘Party games’ line, board games suitable for the whole family; the ‘Wooderfull Life Music Boxes’, made entirely by hand with materials not coming from deforestation and equipped with a hand-tuned Japanese sound and movement mechanism; the ‘Sabbiarelli’, drawings made with adhesive films that, once detached, are covered with sand of the indicated colour (marble powder treated with natural pigments) obtaining in the end a real masterpiece that satisfies the child’s expectations,” she adds.
The stationery department is also very large with particular and less commercial brands that are not found in large-scale distribution: “In this sense, I am moving towards companies that pay particular attention to environmental impact. Another gift idea we propose is the famous ‘Philosophical Calendar’, an item that is part of our history since it has been present in bookstores since it entered the market. A small corner is then dedicated to candies and confectionery that are packaged in special jars that can be personalized with stickers bearing funny phrases or quotes from books. Finally, we offer simple or pop-up greeting cards for all occasions; among the latter we have those dedicated to Bansky, cards that, once opened, reproduce one of the author’s famous works complete with an explanation and, on the side, a card where to write greetings”.
Since the Christmas period is approaching: “I’m thinking of making special gift boxes with ‘surprise readings’, that is, books already wrapped, with a tag on the outside, showing three adjectives from which you can understand the genre and thus choose the one that we think is most suitable for the person who is to receive it.
In addition, there are many events that I organize with the bookstore, in collaboration with the various associations and realities in the area; from book shops (curated directly in the locations where the event takes place) to presentations with authors held on set days directly in site, to real workshops dedicated to children. In order to spread and promote reading among children as an important moment of cultural growth, I decided to offer schools ‘guided tours in the library’: I consider it an experience of great didactic and educational value, in order to provide children with the right tools to approach a book and to learn to orient themselves independently among shelves, genres, themes and authors, driven by the pleasure of discovery and personal choice of new stories to read.
In November, from the 4th to the 12th, the appointment with ‘Ioleggoperchè’ will return: “It is an initiative coordinated and promoted at national level by the Italian Publishers Association in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, which we take part in every year and through which parents buy books to donate to the libraries of the schools in our district. It’s very interesting because then, in the spring, the publishers participate in the initiative by sending a carton of books to schools themselves to enrich and renew the book heritage of school libraries.”
The Libreria Del Frattempo also offers many services: “Since in Italy they are published (official data provided to us at a course a few years ago!) About 150 books a day, it can happen that a person is looking for a text that is not on my shelves. In this case I order it and in just two working days I can satisfy the requests! If you can’t come to the bookstore in person or simply for convenience, you can send a message on whatsapp, messenger or an email asking what you’re looking for; Within a short time, we are able to give an answer on the availability of what is requested and possibly proceed with the order. In addition, we accept payments with the teacher’s card or with the 18App bonus.
Info: Libreria del Meantime, viale Armando Diaz 2 – Sansepolcro (Ar)Tel: 334 3430663 / Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org