In the quiet village of Peace Dale, one small-but-mighty shop is taking steps to connect the community to greater action. The unsuspecting storefront combines a home to a library, bookstore, and community space – and then asks you to be a part of the dialogue. Between the four founding co-owners – Tara Apperson, Brooke Conley, Maggie Kain, and Sarah Markey – the idea of opening a bookstore only seemed to scratch the surface of what would become an open invitation for South County progressives and people beyond to connect with each other.
“We saw a need in the community for space to gather, to talk and have dialogue about issues that are important to them, and to learn about issues from others,” Conley explains.
Upon entering the hybrid space known as The Collective, you will find the shelves lined with books on racial justice, environmental justice, political theory, and civil rights. You also don’t have to look very hard to find the classics and even new authors from both mainstream and alternative publishers. Locals can even rent out The Collective for their own book clubs and movie nights or use the space to connect fellow Rhode Islanders to working on grassroots political action.
Peace Dale called for space to engage community members, and The Collective was quick to draw the neighborhood in with its workshops, rare and progressive literature, and a staff that is just as eager to learn as the individuals that visit. Sure, The Collective does not mind starting these kinds of conversations, but they are also just as receiving of what the people of Rhode Island need: “Our mission statement has naturally evolved over the past year because of those connections we have formed and the ideas that supporters and customers have brought us,” Conley adds.
Celebrating their one-year this November, The Collective shows no signs of stopping its evolution in Peace Dale. Supporting groups like AMOR, COYOTE RI, and The FANG Collective, its co-owners are thrilled with the way the space has evolved to meet the needs of the community.
“In many cases, people are looking for ways to take action around a variety of issues, such as immigrants’ rights, education, and reproductive rights,” Conley explains, “The Collective is a space that brings diverse voices together.” To sign up for their mailing list or find out what is going on in the community, visit their website.