Bookstore owner sends books to veterans and inmates, promotes literacy

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FARMINGTON, N.M. — “I am a passionate reader, I love reading and I love helping people find the right books for them.”

Amy Henkenius loves reading. She loves it so much that she has run her own bookstore, “Amy’s Bookcase” in Farmington, with the goal of making sure everyone has something to read.

“We are a used bookstore, we’re paperback exchange mostly,” Amy said. “We’ve integrated a few new books recently but we really are mostly a used bookstore, which makes it really affordable for people to find good reading.”

Amy says she wants her bookstore to help the community by promoting literacy, so she donates books to soldiers, different organizations and the San Juan County Adult Detention Center.

“So we have people here who curate the books and make sure that they are a right fit for wherever they’re going,” she said. “So for the detention center, we don’t send a lot of romance, we don’t send graphic stuff or anything and we don’t send any hardbacks.”

Since 2019, the store has donated around 13,000 books to the library at the detention center.

“They have nothing to do, they need something to entertain them, to help them be better in their heads, to not just spend the time staring at the walls or getting into trouble or what have you,” she said.

Just last week, Amy got to see how clearly appreciated the donations are. She was presented with a handmade box containing thank-you notes from officers and detainees.

“One of them is from one of the officers, and it says thank you all for your donations for the last couple of years, she said. “The complaints that all the books are romance novels have stopped and it’s amazing.”

She read a letter saying, in part, “We enjoy the books.”

Amy: “That. That’s what I like.”

Still, she says it’s not about all of the thank yous, it’s to help more people gain or keep a love for reading.