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City Lights Books could close for good—and it’s asking for your help.

Corinne Segal

April 10, 2020, 12:03pm

San Francisco’s iconic City Lights bookstore, which has been an anchor of the city’s literary world since Lawrence Ferlinghetti founded it in 1953, is asking for help to stay financially afloat as its doors remain closed.

The store launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for staff and to pay its bills. Elaine Katzenberger, publisher and CEO of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, wrote:

City Lights is faced with formidable challenges at present: our bookstore has been closed to the public since March 16, and must remain closed for an indefinite period of time. Unlike some shops, we’re unable even to process online orders, since we want our booksellers to remain safely at home. With no way to generate income, our cash reserves are quickly dwindling, with bills coming due and with a primary commitment to our staff, who we sent home with full pay and healthcare, and who we hope to keep as healthy and financially secure as possible.

We’re exploring every means of possible support, including federal and local grants and loans, but these funds are not guaranteed to come in, and they won’t meet the needs of our short-term future. And so, we must humbly ask for your support.

To help, you can support the campaign on GoFundMe or buy from City Lights on Bookshop.org.

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