By Brett DeNeve:
Dog Ears Bookstore & Café, although quite unique in nature, may still hold true to the bigger picture of bookstores worldwide; technology is leaving printed material in the past and forcing many places, not just Dog Ears, to reach out for corporate and community sponsors and support. But is it that simple? Printed text, once viewed by generations as a portal to another world, has now developed this stagnant stigma amongst millennials.
Even certain multimedia, if it is not interactive in just the right way, gets tossed to the wayside. But this article is not on new technology, it is on Dog Ears Bookstore and Café, located at 688 Abbot Road in Buffalo, New York, and why you, your children, or your parents/grandparents would better be spending their time here than anywhere else.
This nonprofit community bookstore offers a wide variety of educational programs and they are offered for just about every age category from toddlers to seniors. They work in conjunction with local schools, community centers and programs, as well as publishing companies, making Dog Ears not just a place to purchase a text, but to regenerate them in schools and the community.
On the second floor, “The Enlightenment Literary Arts Center” holds quite reading times, but also gives attention to group discussion and writing response activities to really promote proper ingestion of the reading. Kids may learn what they are “supposed” to understand from a reading from anyone, whether it be a devoted parent, an older sibling, a teacher in a classroom, etc. But something has to be said for the higher learning found in a library setting with peers, where discussion may very well be more open. I feel as though a teacher, although clearly concerned with the student, cannot help but stay on schedule. In this environment, a child can learn how other kids get different things from different parts of a text, and how some parts of literature really are up for interpretation. The second floor, when not programmed for a reading activity of course, provides a spacious and comfortable off-site meeting place for businesses and organizations.
They recently updated their entire menu, offering a delicious breakfast selection alongside freshly brewed coffee, espresso, cappuccino, lattes and teas. They also provide a variety of soups, sandwiches, salads, smoothies and homemade desserts. A personal favorite, “The Writer’s Block,” lets you build your own sandwich, hot or cold, choosing from a wide array of meats, cheeses and condiments. Just be cautious, for if you chose this menu option and cannot come to terms with what you want, you will almost surely end up facing your written work with the same outlook. There is an outdoor patio available, also providing an ideal off-site business meet up, as well as take-out lunches and dessert/sandwich trays and coffee boxes. Dog Ears asks to please call ahead for these bigger orders.
The bookstore has also launched a green initiative. They now accept used ink and toner cartridges for recycling. They are accepting these items seven days a week. The proceeds are going to benefit future programming at the bookstore.
“Puppy Tales,” Dog Ear’s story time sessions for kids ages two to four, will start this Friday, September 13th at 10:15 A.M. The program will run until 11 A.M. and children are required to be accompanied by an adult. Please register prior to the event by contacting the bookstore.
“We are reaching out to the Western New York community for assistance so that we can continue to offer a wide variety of outstanding education programs,” said Tom McDonnell, Dog Ears Executive Director. “We are truly in need of sponsors who appreciate the high quality and family oriented programs – and the fun and safe environment- that we provide. Companies, organizations and individuals interested in going to bat for educational programming and family values can contact me at the bookstore for more information on how thy can help.”
Technology is slowly but surely replacing human interaction amongst the younger generations. Teens have a different level of comfort ability on social media than face to face, making for an uneven development of interpersonal and communicative skills. Any time spent really interacting with someone else, especially in an environment such as Dog Ears, is time well spent. Whether it be your child, your Mom or Dad, or even you and some co-workers; get off your Iphone, MacBook, Blackberry, social media sites, etc. and come enjoy a bookstore’s company. And if you really can’t pull yourself from your technology, feel free to visit them on the web for daily updates on what they are doing. Their entire new menu, for example, is on their Facebook page. Check it out.