Page by page, stories unfold in the Learned Owl, an independent bookstore in Hudson. Kate Schlademan is the most recent owner of the store that originally opened in 1968.
Young readers visit the historic cozy building, with its three floors of books for all ages, to find the perfect adventure to carry them away. As a child, Schlademan remembers going to the Learned Owl with her mother and often hears similar recollections from shoppers. “I hear stories fairly often. I just had a woman come in yesterday and she [told me], ‘I’m just reminiscing.’ It’s really fun and the ones I enjoy the most are the people that remember coming here as children when their parents brought them,” says Schlademan. “Now they come back in as adults with their children.”
A booklover herself, Schlademan first got into the business when working at Borders. “I was a little burnt out after [several years], so I took a break for about five years from book selling and taught English in South Korea.” When she returned, Schlademan says she found her place at the Leaned Owl. “I’m at peace when I’m surrounded by books.”
As the patrons age, they continue to enjoy a variety of books. “We have a little bit of everything,” says Schlademan. “We’re a little bit heavier in the history, biography, general fiction area, but we’re also pretty good across the board.”
Reading material is not all Schlademan provides for the community. She also aims to be a hub of intellectual activity. “We try to have local author events almost every Saturday, as well as some kid’s events. We’re partnering with the Farmers’ Market in town and we’re going to be doing story time at the Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. We also partner with the libraries in the area as well,” says Schlademan.
Though many say that bookstores are a thing of the past, Schlademan sees the store as a gathering point for those in the community. “I don’t know what the community would be at this point without the bookstore. Shop locally and give to the community.”