Six days a week you’ll find Stacy Hardin in her happy place surrounded by stacks and stacks of books.
“I’m obsessed with everything that has to do with language and reading,” Hardin said. “I have always been an avid reader.”
When Hardin was just 12 years old, she and her dad stumbled upon a book store in Peoria.
She said, “I just fell in love with it. I would come here every Saturday and get my weekly supply of books. And then I decided some day, I was going to own the store.”
Thirty years later, Hardin’s dream came true. She bought the store in 2016.
“I changed the name just a little bit: ‘The Book Rack’ to ‘Book Rack Used Books’. I just kind of wanted to make it mine. Keep the originality of it, but make it just a little bit more mine,” Hardin said.
There’s a magic of reading Hardin says she tapped into as a child. She hopes her store can help others can find that excitement too.
“You know as a kid I was kind of an awkward kid, chunky and you know I didn’t have a whole lot of friends and the books were my friends. I knew that no matter what was happening to me, I could read a story and I could go somewhere else,” she said.
You’ll not only find reading space at Book Rack Used Books. You’ll also find a place of positivity.
She said, “You’ll see all over the walls we’ll have like really encouraging motivation type quotes and obviously a lot of book quotes.”
In the future, Stacy wants to expand the store and its community outreach including growing the store’s literacy foundation to buy books for Peoria public schools and other local districts, broadening the “Little Free Libraries” program and hosting the first Peoria Book Fest in October.
“I’m just building an empire. I want everybody reading. That’s my goal,” said Hardin.