Lance's Journal: Book Town Brownville, Nov. 23

There are only 3 towns in the United States that have been officially declared as book towns. Grass Valley, California, Stillwater, Minnesota and Brownville, Nebraska.

British bookstore owner Richard Booth is the world's largest second-hand book dealer and he designated Brownville as one of the top spots in America to go in search of used books.

Nestled in a valley alongside the Missouri River lies historic Brownville. Established in 1854, this quaint little village is arguably the oldest town in the state of Nebraska. Everywhere you look this place is oozing with history, but there is much more, with four bookstores in this town of 148 residents, Brownville is a true bibliophile's paradise.

Jane Smith owns the Lyceum Bookstore Restaurant and she's the one responsible for getting Brownville recognized, "Richard booth founded the International Book Town Movement because he believes that civilization will be greatly improved if we don't throw all of our used books into ditches or burn them but we make them available to the public at very reasonable prices."

Tom Rudloff can appreciate the philosophy of getting used books in the hands of people who will appreciate them. After selling books in Omaha for the past 40 years, Tom has gradually moved his enormous collection of 150,000 previously read books to the old Brownville High School. Tom says a trip through the Antiquarium is a like a treasure hunt of sorts, "You're not coming just to find a book that you read about yesterday that's on the best seller list but you're waiting for something to fall off the shelf and hit you on the head."

In addition to their impressive book stores, Brownville is also widely known for their fine arts. World renowned artists have performed in their concert series and the Brownville Village Theatre has entertained audiences for 40 seasons.


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