We are more than just a book store. We are an organization dedicated to improving our community.
Guide to Kulchur opened as a bookstore and literary center in 2013. At the beginning of the history of the organization, the guiding principles of the center were grounded in a mission of social entrepreneurship, shared responsibility, and community benefit. The organization originally intended to be a bookstore with a curation of political, historical, and sociological titles.
This early community formation not only led to the development of a printshop and publishing project, but began to change the way that the bookstore operated. As a part of this transformation the bookstore inherited the Cleveland Books to Prisoners program, originally started as part of a community center project in 2005, and then taken over by the Cleveland Catholic Worker community upon the closing of this community center space. Taking over the administration of Books to Prisoners was a natural fit, as Guide to Kulchur intends specifically to facilitate access to literary arts for underserved communities, including the incarcerated. Projects like the correspondence of the Books to Prisoners program, organizing stock and transit for books to the prisons, and community events and engagement increasingly began to occupy more of the time and resources of the space and its staff.
The bookstore continues to operate, now on a pay-what-you-can model. This physical space has become the jumping-off point for a series of programming aimed to destroy barriers between our community and the availability of media, culture, and texts.
Guide to Kulchur actively engages in the work of creating pathways to provide literature to underserved communities, removing barriers to the literary arts for all community members, and assisting in the vocalization and publication of marginalized voices in the community.