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Friday August 12th

Prologue hosts soft opening for local community to explore used and rare book collection

A display at the preview night of Prologue Used and Rare Books on Sat. July 2nd.
Buy Photos A display at the preview night of Prologue Used and Rare Books on Sat. July 2nd.

Prologue Used and Rare Books, a sister storefront adjacent to Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews, held its preview night event on Saturday.

Although it was not the grand opening of the store, the preview allowed customers to browse Prologue's collection of used and rare books. 

In addition to its large collection of books, Prologue boasts a reading counter, a dozen tables by the windows at the front of the store and sofas towards the middle.

“First of all, thank you for the support so far," owner Jaime Sanchez said at the event. "Second of all, I'm so sorry it took so long to open to that community that's been cheering us on. Thank you. If it wasn't for you all, I would have broken down a long time and just curled up in a corner.”

Because Epilogue is consistently occupied by customers, Sanchez decided to expand in 2021.

Taylor Heeden, a recent graduate from UNC who came back to Chapel Hill for the soft opening, was reading her newly bought book “Wicked” on a bench next to a bookshelf during the event.

“Thia place is amazing, and the energy here is just so nice, and it's just a great extension of a great space that already exists," she said.

Gaby Iori, the events coordinator at Epilogue, said she was excited to open the space after a year of preparation. She said that Prologue will have a grand opening in the future.

“This is a soft opening for folks to get first dibs on our used and rare book collection, check out the Randall Kenan Collection and generally get a sense and a feel of the space,” she said.

Much of Prologue's collection of rare books is made up of the Randall Kenan Collection. The collection belonged to author and former UNC professor Randall Kenan. 

After Kenan passed away on Aug. 28, 2020, his family donated over 8,000 books from his collection to Prologue, which was still under construction at the time.

Sanchez said the donation was "a great blessing amid the chaos" of opening Prologue.

He said the donation reaffirmed his belief that Epilogue and Prologue were needed by the community, and he pledged to continue to work as hard as he could to keep supporting the community.

“It was a beautiful gift – a cosmic gift, you know, in a way it told us, ‘Keep going, you're on the right track. People are going to support you,’” he said.

Lori said Prologue is grateful for the Randall Kenan Collection, which spans multiple genres.

She said that the store accepts used books from community members to make up the rest of the collection.

"The rest of our collection is whatever the community brought in and wanted to trade into us for some store credit," lori said. "We're really, really pleased with everything that we've come across."

Prologue will offer more space for Epilogue customers – as well as more books, especially those that are used or rare.

Sanchez said both the used and rare collections of the store cater to marginalized communities, and that the store only takes books that reflect its values.

“We always go after making sure that we amplify marginalized voices,” he said. “You're going to see a lot of selection that amplifies women, minorities, LGBTQIA+ community because we have been so underrepresented for so long.”

Sanchez added that his Latino ancestry and immigrant background influenced the store and the selection of books, referring to Epilogue as a microcosm of his family.

“This is my family,” he said. “And I'm bringing my family to you.”

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