We have some big Eric Carle Museum Bookstore news to share with our regular blog readers and friends, which may help explain why my blog posts have been so scarce lately. Our founding manager Andy Laties, who has been running the bookstore at The Carle since it opened almost ten years ago, has recently left us to run another fabulous children’s bookstore. We are so excited to announce that Andy will now be the manager of Bank Street Bookstore in New York City and we wish him the best of luck in his new adventures in his new city. He will be dearly missed here and I know that I, who will be taking over for Andy as The Carle Museum Bookstore Manager, have some very big shoes to fill.
Andy hired me in 2005 to be his Assistant Manager and since that day, he has taught me everything I need to know to run a successful children’s bookstore. Anyone who has met Andy or has read his book, Rebel Bookseller, knows that he is an enthusiastic advocate of independent bookstores and has an enormous wealth of knowledge about books and the book business. In addition to to that knowledge and 30+ years of children’s bookselling experience, Andy was also such a warm and charming presence at the Museum. Nothing could beat his hilarious back-and-forth banter with toddlers at the cash register. My favorite of his routines was ringing up a child at the register and then declaring in a booming voice, “That will be one million seven hundred forty-eight dollar and twenty-two cents, please.” Andy’s flair for theatrics and understanding a child’s sense of humor always made for an entertaining day at work. And watching this man handsell a picture book, was a work of art. He wouldn’t just recommend a favorite picture book to a customer, but would dramatically read it aloud to them right then and there, complete with character voices and hand and body gestures. How could anyone refuse to buy a book after being so thoroughly convinced at how entertaining the book could be?
There are so many more wonderful memories I could share about Andy as we worked side by side for almost seven years. Here are some photos from over the years to remind us of his time here at The Carle.
To regular customers and Members, Andy was a familiar face behind the cash register every day. This is Andy when the store opened in 2002.
A dramatic interpretation of Chris Van Allsburg’s Two Bad Ants with former Visitor Services Manager, Steve Angel in 2004.
Andy was always up for the opportunity to sell books offsite for The Carle. Here he is selling books at Northampton’s Sidewalk Sales in the rain. Good thing he had an umbrella!
Andy always carried the entire works of local authors and illustrators in our store to show them support. Sometime they needed to stop in to remind him when they had a new book he should be carrying. Here he is with local author Heidi Stemple.
Andy supported local authors and local authors supported Andy. Here’s Andy with illustrator Ruth Sanderson, shopping at the store.
Over the years we had many costumed characters walk our Museum halls even if the volunteers to wear the big heavy costumes were hard to find. If the costume fit, Andy was always a willing entertainer. Here he is as the Poky Little Puppy dancing with a young customer.
I’m going to miss Andy’s funny and dramatic interactions with customers, his riveting and intelligent conversations about books and the children’s publishing world, but mostly I’m going to miss my friend. Farewell, Andy! The staff of The Carle Bookshop — Chris, Lillian, Margaret and I — look forward to carrying on in your tradition.