Carpe Librum: Your new favorite used bookstore | The American Word

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Carpe Librum: Your new favorite used bookstore

Ashley Franz | 12/7/15 10:48pm
| Updated 12/7/15 10:48pm

Jaclyn Merica /
American Word Magazine

Just around the corner from the Farragut North metro station lies one of D.C.’s lesser known bookstores. It’s easy to miss if you’re not paying attention; it almost feels out of place among the large, grey office buildings. Who would have thought that this quaint, inviting shop could be the destination of an entire day’s outing?

Clipped to a clothesline hanging in the window, a banner reads “Carpe Librum Bookstore.” No item in the store is priced over $4, making it perfect for the college student on a budget looking for an impulsive trip and unique read.

If you’re juggling 16 credit hours, extracurriculars and sometimes a job or internship, you may not have loads of free time to work with. It’s a sad reality, but most college students admit that their leisure reading time has been drastically cut since they took on all these responsibilities. This store could be the perfect opportunity to take a personal day to return to the childhood roots of loving reading and education. Since the store doesn’t have a master database of the books in stock, you’re forced to go in with an open mind and look at books you didn’t even know interested you. Judge books by their covers. Judge them by their summaries, by the introductions and the last page (if you’re into that kinda thing). Get to know them past the surface level because you’re really not losing anything if you find a book you think you like, but put it back.

Rooms and rooms are full of books in every subject area possible: from general fiction to business to health, there is no way to walk in and not be intrigued by something. Carpe Librum also sells popular CDs and movies for $4 or less. Not only does this used bookstore give customers a chance to find good books at great prices, it also gives children in D.C. Public Schools an opportunity to get the most of their educations. Carpe Librum is run and operated by Turning The Page, a local organization committed to uniting parent, teacher, and student involvement in children’s academic experiences.

The organization is able to offer this extensive collection of books and media thanks to community donations. Turning The Page also has professional relationships with local businesses, like NPR, who also donate boxes of books to the store. Once a temporary location, the bookstore in Farragut now is located permanently in the building thanks to a deal which allows Carpe Librum to run their charity with minimal expenses lost to rent. All the money raised goes directly to Turning The Page, and in turn, directly to D.C. Public Schools students.

Carpe Librum is located at 1030 17th St. NW and is open Monday through Friday 11 a.m to 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Take time to seize the book and seize the day. Rummage through old treasures to find a new one of your own, then retreat to the many nearby coffee houses or Farragut Square to delve into a new world, knowing that the small cost of the pages is making a big impact on a local child’s life.