My summer at Socialight Society was one of the best summers I have had in a long while. Not
only did I get to work in a bookstore as a fellow lover of reading and writing, but I got to work in
a bookstore that had books upon books lining it's shelves with people who looked like me.
Working in a store that catered to me, my interests, and my lifestyle was a dream, but so is the owner, Nyshell Lawrence. Coming into the job, I was nervous just because it was a new environment, I wasn’t sure what would be expected of me completely, but Nyshell made me feel welcomed. Right away she told me the goals she had for the shop, the projects she wanted me to
complete, and even let me create some projects of my own. I quickly found that working with her
was not only effortless, but it is something I enjoyed immensely. It was encouraging to see a
Black woman, who loves reading, create a space for her dreams to flourish, and go after them
as hard as she does. Especially a Black woman who I found so many similarities with.I never found myself dreading going to work, I never got tired of being in the store, and it was a
relaxing environment to work in.
Over the course of my summer, I not only gained skills in customer service, but I gained
skills in technology, innovation, and creativity. I also gained so much knowledge on what it takes
to run a bookstore and the love that goes into it. I got to innovate and create projects and events for the store. To see that work blossom was incredible.
Being in the store was so much fun but so was meeting the people that came in. Nyshell prides herself on her love for her community and family, and it showed in the shop. Her family would come to visit often, and they too welcomed me with open arms, making me feel even more at ease in my role as an intern.
This love was also shown in the community as people would come in and she’d greet them with a smile and listen to whatever they had to say, always trying to make certain they left the store satisfied --- often planning community events with customers where she could give out books that people otherwise wouldn’t have received.
There’s so much more to be said, but not enough words could express the great experiences I had here and how much learning I truly did. I’ve been blessed to become an intern, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Socialight Society.
Until next summer,
Photo Credit: Laicee Thill Photography
Illustration: Socialight Society