Headed by pioneering literary organizations like Wolverine Farm Letterpress & Publick House, Northern Colorado Writers, and Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins’ community of writers and book lovers has celebrated a great resurgence in recent years. Though our community has always hosted countless artists, authors and creatives, there hasn’t always been such wonderful resources for publication, promotion, reading and literacy.
But now, we have headquarters, resources, book clubs, organizations and events where we can come together for learning, reading and encouragement throughout the year—including the free, two-day FoCo Book Fest.
For more on that and all our other favorite book and literacy-related resources in Fort Collins, keep reading!
Named after the historic Old Town building they call home, Old Firehouse Books is Northern Colorado’s largest independent bookstore. Inside the shop, you’ll find a knowledgeable staff of bookworms, new books and used books, writing journals, cards, bookish t-shirts, and more.
Located in the Cimarron Plaza at the corner of Drake and Shields, The Eclectic Reader is home to a collection of over 20,000 books. That collection includes non-fiction subjects, modern fiction and literature, children’s books, science topics, and more. Their shelves hold one of the best selections of natural history and one of the best horticulture sections of any bookstore in town!
Bizarre Bazaar is a destination for book lovers, comic book readers and vinyl collectors alike. The team at this Fort Collins shop buys, sells and trades used, antique and collectible books, vinyl records, CDs and cassette tapes, comic books and old vintage magazines, audio equipment, and more. Their used book section includes a $0.25 rack and they partner with ARC Thrift Stores so no books end up in landfills.
The Fort Collins Barnes and Noble has a huge selection of books in every category as well as toys and games, a cafe, and a media section that includes vinyl records.
The headquarters of literature, education and book culture in Fort Collins, the Poudre River Public Library District maintains three libraries in Fort Collins. In addition to perusing and borrowing books, guests to the libraries can use computers, take computer classes, reserve meeting spaces, participate in a book club and so much more.
For example, their Writers’ Cafe is a collection of the libraries’ tools and resources for the local author community. With it, budding authors can write, create, self-publish an eBook and connect with readers through the Library.
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Photo courtesy of Wolverine Farm Letterpress & Publick House
Wolverine Farm is a publisher and organization focused on high-quality literature and art. From their Willow Street headquarters, they publish serials, books and a community newspaper—all of which strive to engage our community with the world and with literature. Because Wolverine Farm is also a Publick House, you can stop in and enjoy a local beverage or snack, shop local makers in the retail space, and attend one of many events. Their space is as inspiring and welcoming as their literary work!
We can also thank Wolverine Farm for organizing the Fort Collins Poet Laureate program!
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Northern Colorado Writers began when founder and local writer Kerrie Flanagan found the huge community of writers in Northern Colorado and realized they didn’t have a place to come together. So NCW began with the first Northern Colorado Writers Conference in 2006 and has since become a support system for local writers and creatives throughout the region. Together, they host monthly meetings, classes, networking and social events, an annual retreat and, of course, the annual conference.
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Whether you’re a writer or a reader, Fort Collins Reads is a great resource and group where you can share your love for books. Since 2002, the organization has worked to connect locals through literature and speaking engagements from some of the nation’s most recognized authors. Much more than just a book club, Fort Collins Reads is the country’s longest-running community read programs, and they host an annual author talk every year. Held on the first Sunday in November, the talk represents the culmination of Fort Collins Reads’ mission to ignite interest in literacy and dialogue.
They also host several smaller events throughout the year, essay contests, panel discussions, book fairs and more.
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More than 20 years ago, Book Trust Founder Adrienne Schatz realized that many of the students in her elementary school in Fort Collins weren’t able to purchase their own books. In 2001, Adrienne piloted the Book Trust program with 170 students in Larimer County and today, the nonprofit has grown to deliver 1 million books to 57,000 kids across 21 states. Driven by the knowledge that children are more likely to read when they get to choose and own their own books, the Book Trust program offers a unique and valuable spin on literacy and education.
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Reach Out and Read Colorado is a program that incorporates books into pediatric care and encourages families to read aloud together. Their team trains health care providers at more than 300 partner clinics in Colorado to advise parents about the importance of reading aloud and to prescribe books to children at health check-ups. The partner clinics in Fort Collins are the two Salud Family Health Centers and Fort Collins Family Medicine Center, a service of UCHealth. For more information, check out the organization website.
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Held at the beginning of May each year and hosted by Northern Colorado Writers, this conference brings together upwards of 150 attendees for two days of master classes, keynotes, presentations, banquets and luncheons, more than 30 workshops, and the guaranteed opportunity to make a pitch to a literary agent or editor. For information on the 2019 event, click here.
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Free and open to the public, FoCo Book Fest is a program hosted by the Poudre River Public Library District. The event celebrates local libraries, books and the literary arts community of Fort Collins as well as the rest of Northern Colorado. Join in the fun each October to hear panel discussions, participate in writing workshops, enjoy author readings, book signings and classes, and to engage with a variety of fantastic writers over the course of two days.
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Held on the first Sunday in November each year, the Fort Collins Reads Author Talk represents the culmination of the organization’s mission to ignite interest in literacy and dialogue. The 2018 event is bringing Jennifer Egan to Fort Collins to discuss her novel Manhattan Beach. Past authors and guests of Fort Collins Reads include Lois Lowry, Julie Otsuka and Erik Larson.
Photo courtesy of The Stanley Hotel
The Stanley Hotel is much more than just a luxury hotel. In addition to its historic rooms, legendary grounds overlooking Rocky Mountain National Park and destination dining services, its storied and haunted past reaches back more than 100 years has made it one of the most famous hotels in the country. This is thanks in large part to Stephen King who modeled his book The Shining and its haunted Overlook Hotel after The Stanley. Activities inside the real hotel include a spooky Night Spirit Tour which explores the phenomena and folklore surrounding the building and grounds.
In addition to the stories, the possible haunts and the luxuries available at The Stanley Hotel, guests can enjoy the hotel’s partnership with Kent Mountain Adventures Center to do everything from adventure hikes to ice climbing, the brand new, $10 million events center called The Pavilion at The Stanley, and Stanley Live which is an exciting concert series that has brought musicians like Rick Springfield and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy to Estes Park.
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