Weekly Round-Up: Schoenhof’s Foreign Books, Accessibility, and “Books N Bros”

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schoenhof's store

From a Harvard Square bookstore closure to a book club for boys, here’s the latest literary news:

  • Schoenhof’s Foreign Books, an iconic bookstore in Cambridge, MA, is closing its doors for good on March 26. Schoenhof’s, the self-described oldest foreign language bookstore in the United States, was founded in 1856 and offered titles in languages such as Dutch, Portuguese, and Japanese, among others. Madeleine Flanagan, the store’s executive director, said that Schoenhof’s will continue to operate as an online retailer.
  • A bill proposed to Australian Parliament could make books more accessible to the country’s visually impaired readers. The bill, which addresses changes to copyright laws, would give individuals the right to copy published works into different formats, such as braille, audio, or large-print text. According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, only five percent of books currently produced in Australia are available in accessible formats.
  • Sidney Keys III, an eleven-year-old from St. Louis, has started a book club to encourage a love of reading in boys his age. Reading proficiency assessment data from the Center for Education Policy shows that boys tend to trail behind girls by several percentage points, but the members of Keys’ club, Books N Bros, are working to bridge that gap. Keys’ mother Winnie Caldwell, who helped her son start the club, said: “We specifically reach out to boys around ages 8-10 because that is statistically the age they stop reading—we want to combat that.”