Dickson Street is considered the entertainment part of Fayetteville, by locals and students of Arkansas University* alike. Lots of bars, restaurants, and small designer shops are located on this street, one of the oldest in town. There are festivals going on there every season, and everywhere you stumble upon a doggie (Fayettevillians are renown as dog lovers, even at country level). In short, Dickson Street is a symbol of the city.
At no. 325 on West Dickson Street Commercial Historic District (the official name of the place), there is a bookstore that took its name after its location. The locals simply refer to it as Dickson Street bookshop. It was established in 1978 by Donald Choffel and Charles O`Donnell. Sadly, the last of the two passed away just this August.
This is a bookshop of old and out-of-print books whose labyrinthic appearance is an invitation for the book lovers to peruse over the thousands of books, albums, magazines, cards that are aligned on the ceiling- to- floor length shelves. The visitor has the first sample of this richness at the entrance in the bookshop, where boxes of discounted goodies are tempting him/her to leave the attractions of the street and to inspect the shop for a while. These few minutes will become hours. Although the materials, which come from the most diverse domains, are organized in a simple and clear manner, it is always advisable to ask one of the bookshop`s staff what we are looking for. If we just look around with no particular aim in mind, it is easy to get lost since the titles and covers of the books compete with the funny, intriguing, provocative drawings, maps, poetry that can be found in the remotest places between the shelves, on the walls, everywhere. Everything is a symbol in this bookshop.
On finally exiting the bookshop, one member of the helpful staff will recommend you another similar place on Dickson Street, namely Nightbird Books, located at no. 205. This is a good catch too! It is an independent local bookshop whose focus is on new books but hand-selected, as they say. It has a small but relevant selection of contemporary authors for adults and children. The logo of the shop is a bird, which can be seen on the shop-sign at the entrance. The real version of the bird has its own special place inside, where the visitor can watch it while he/she is reading comfortably sat in the armchair.
There are sofas, armchairs and tables everywhere near the bookshelves. The place can accommodate events but also individuals who have intense affairs with the books that can develop throughout the night too. Upon inspecting you, the birdie nearby can say if you are or not a distinguished member of the nightbirds club or readers.
*The biggest campus of Arkansas University is located in Fayetteville.