Visiting the Book Loft with My Mentee

Yesterday I had the pleasure to meet up with my mentee, Payton, and share with her one of my favorite Columbus hidden gems and neighborhoods, The Book Loft in German Village. The Book Loft is a quirky book store nestled in the heart of one of Columbus’s oldest neighborhoods. Thousands of books are stacked on the shelves in each of the 32 tiny rooms of the historic home that the shop resides in.

Payton has been coming to Columbus semi regularly for the last few years as her sister in a current OSU junior. She has explored much of the city with her family, but never made it to German Village. She has a friend who raves about, so she was happy to make the trip when I suggested it for our spring explore Columbus outing.

Payton is an avid reader. She’s shared her book worm habits with me before. This is why I thought the trip would be an excellent choice for us.

We met up outside of Smith-Steeb, Payton’s dorm hall and my former residence, on an early spring afternoon. We crossed the campus green to High Street to wait for the bus that would take us South into the city. We rode the number 2 down through Short North, chatting as we went. Payton had recently tried a new restaurant in the neighborhood, NorthStar. She visited for a floormate’s birthday the night before. We discussed the neighborhood and how there was a big divide between the college side and the young professionals/downtown side. High Street was busy with people decked out in green for St. Patrick’s day.

Payton is working on her resume to apply for the Wexner Center for the Arts Internships that just opened up. She is interested in the Art and Resilience position as it aligns with her career interests of helping and healing people through art. Payton is working towards becoming an art therapist. She’s also working on pursuing research opportunities as she anticipates they will be beneficial when it comes time for her to apply to graduate school.

Payton and I arrived at the book store and spent the next two hours browsing the stacks. Each room in the shop is organized around a different genre such as LGBTQIA+ Romance, United States History, Horror, or Science. Payton and I both agreed that our favorite room was the essay collections. We spent an embarrassingly long amount of time flipping through the pages of each postcard book in the room over. The Book Loft has feels like a grown up Scholastic book fair. There are many literacy accessories like the post cards, book marks, and tote bags displayed in between the shelves.

After roaming through each of the four wings Payton paid for a book of poems and we headed outside back to downtown to catch our bus. We rode the number 8 though downtown, the arena district, and Vicky Village. Payton hadn’t been to these parts of Columbus and enjoyed the new scenery.

Payton and I would definitely go back if given the chance. While it is a rather long bus ride (35 minutes from South campus) it is worth the commute. The Book Loft is like no other book store in Columbus or Ohio for that matter. German Village has a special kind of charm that is hard to find in a city of Columbus’s age.

If returning I would recommend going a little earlier in the day than us, (We arrived just before 4.) so you could grab lunch at Katzinger’s Deli before hand. Katzinger’s is a the go to place for delectable sandwiches in the city. Alternatively, visiting later in the night after sunset would also be a wonderful experience as the courtyard of the shop is wrapped in fairy lights and the star light makes German Village feel like it’s out of fairy tale.

I highly recommend the experience to my fellow scholars as they complete the mentorship this program spring. It is highly engaging and sure to be a crowd-pleaser for you and your mentee. Even if you’re not an avid reader the shop is so unique it is sure to be interesting.

This experience taught us about the the diversity of our city and the lived experiences of it’s residence. On the way we were given a window into the world’s of our neighbors on the bus, in German Village, and in the book store. While it very easy to stay in the 43210 as students, it is so enriching to get out in the community and experience what Columbus is like for it’s permanent residents.

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