Welcome to the GoFundMe site in support of Ken Sanders Rare Books.
Ken Sanders and the staff of Ken Sanders Rare Books would like to thank you for visiting this page. We are extremely grateful for the amount of support that all of you have shown. Thanks to your generosity, we are overwhelmed and humbled to announce that we have surpassed the halfway mark of our fundraising campaign. Given the uncertainties of our pandemic future, we are going to continue to raise funds through this site.
This counter culture institution opened its doors in Salt Lake City 24 years ago. Beginning with no money, few books, and a teenaged daughter, KSRB has grown into an overflowing powerhouse of an antiquarian bookstore known throughout the Intermountain West, and the world. It’s as much a book shop as it is a museum. It’s a place where Ken’s generosity allows the muse to dwell. For those not in Utah, many of you may have seen Ken Sanders on television from his fourteen years as a rare books and manuscripts appraiser on the popular PBS show, Antiques Roadshow.
Ken’s bookshop is an integral part of the very fabric of Utah’s culture. His store is under very real threats, most immediately with the loss of sales due to the Covid-19 crisis that has the store running at approximately 50% of normal sales. We know we are not alone in this, but the pandemic shows no sign of going away any time soon. Please do help by donating to this fundraising campaign, we can’t afford to lose this cultural icon!
KSRB is a place that its community has depended on for many years to provide vital resources by way of literature, poetry, music, art, specializing in Utah, Mormon, Native American, and Western history. It carries new, used, and rare books, paper ephemera, photographs, maps, rock and roll posters, letterhead broadsides, t-shirts, and things you never dreamed existed. The store champions natural history and environment, climate change, social justice, sustainability, radical politics, to name a few subjects near and dear to our hearts. Alternative voices, minorities, women, LGBTQ+, everyone is included. In addition to curating collections, appraising books and manuscripts, Ken has contributed to the book publishing world through Dream Garden Press, founded in 1980, to publish regional poets and authors. The store has hosted thousands of events that include concerts by musicians, poetry readings, book release celebrations, and film showings. To name only a few: Edward Abbey, Charles Bowden, Terry Tempest Williams, Wendell Berry, Tom Russell, Rosalie Sorrells, Utah Phillips, and Alex Caldiero’s dazzling performances of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl. Ken specializes in oral story telling, occasional writing, and has been featured in dozens of films and documentaries on notable subjects such as Edward Abbey, Tim DeChristopher, Everett Ruess, Ken Sleight, and Earth First!
We’re hoping this GoFundMe campaign will carry the store operations through this worst of times. Funds will be used for employee payroll, employee health insurance, rents, basic store operations, and supplies needed to reduce the risks of Covid-19 to ensure the welfare of the staff and customers. We are deeply grateful to our loyal fans and customers and appreciate both the love and the financial support you have sent our way.
We encourage you to visit the store’s website to learn more about the store’s inventory and activities.
Rare Books Need Rare Humans!
There are a few reasons why you might contribute to help save Ken Sanders Rare Books which has become endangered due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
You might contribute because you know or have met Ken Sanders personally. Maybe you know him as the gentle soul he is - whose dedication to books, art, nature, history and boundless curiosity have proven a priceless, positive contribution to the business of book selling and also to the world.
You might contribute because you have a connection to Utah, Salt Lake City, the West and you appreciate the fact that Ken Sanders Rare Books is a portal unlike many other that still exist. Maybe you understand these bookstores and the people that run them are being pulverized between technology and Covid-19 and that being able to spend an afternoon physically rambling through musty stacks is an experience that needs to be preserved.
Maybe you’ve seen Ken on Antiques Roadshow and get a kick out the fact that he could expound with deep understanding exactly why and how the 1930 Rockwell Kent illustrated edition of Moby Dick can possibly be worth so much money.
Or maybe you’re just a reader and book lover and want to kick in.
In any of these cases your contribution will be appreciated and put to good work.
Thanks for being a part of saving Ken Sanders Rare Books!
In a forest, under the ground, there are networks of fungus fibers that connect the roots of trees together, allowing the trees to share information and resources. They're called mycorrhizal networks and they help keep the whole forest healthy. Ken Sanders Rare Books is like one of these underground networks. You walk into his store and you feel connected to healthy forest. Ken is the gnome who guards it.
The Amazon Corporation is named after a forest but it has no underground, no roots or fungus. It’s more like a virus that kills trees.
If Ken’s store closes, the forest dies. Simple as that, and tragic as the loss of a species. So I will work to help the store stay open.
Scott Carrier, Journalist
I think of Ken Sanders, as do most who know him, as worthy of
State Treasure status standing as he does at Utah cultural crossroads
where desert rats, intellectuals, misfits, artists, writers, book worms,
poets, philosophers come to weave tales with Ken and discover a new
author, or a new trail of thinking.
The bookshop is where we take visitors when we hope to answer the question:
"Why Utah?" posed by relatives and meaningful friends. They don't know
that in our minds Ken is a sort of right of passage. If they gasp in wonder at
KSRB-- they understand Why-- if they don't -- they never will.
I have been a bookstore nut from the time I found Watkins, Foyles
in London - Thorpes in Guildford and Hay on Wye in the 60s.They in their turn defined their time and place and reflected the British character for generations.
The British bookstore, however, is genteel. A thing of winter, tea and muffins,
wooly scarves, cats and damp tweed. KSRB is more sand in your hiking boots,
thirst, chapstick, rocks in your pockets and brain sort of experience.
For years now I have been ranting on about the misguided plan for development
on the site of our Utah Treasure. I can only hope that one outcome of this
dreadful pandemic and inevitable Depression is that developers will not have their way with the land where Ken's Bookshop stands. It is our best mental watering hole.
Jann Haworth, Artist
I can easier imagine a cordiality truce between Mormon crickets and seagulls than a closing of Ken Sanders Rare Books. Name one other place in Salt Lake City where you can go for a thoroughly invigorating browsing and at the same time get a better half hour gym workout than Ken’s Place, and simultaneously—even though it may be unearned—be greeted and treated as an old friend. KSRB is a SLC institution with an earned reputation for both inventory and eccentricity and our world would be diminished should this bookstore disappear.
That said, as we all know, times are genuinely tough and Ken is having an even harder time than usual holding Yeats’ archetypal center together. Now it’s time for us to render service and help an old and dear friend out. I’m going to do my part and make a painful sacrifice: give up a minimum of three days’ worth of Happy Hour in his honor. I cannot imagine a Utah world worth living in without Ken’s hanging in and being there as a visible icon; can you?
David Lee, Apprentice World Class Piddler and Scribbler
I can’t recall the first time I met Ken Sanders, book dealer, river runner, cultural icon. But I remember all the moments since.
I remember when he commissioned a family river trip with Moki Mak through Desolation Canyon, with fellow bookman Ken Lopez and his family, writer Scott Carrier and two of his young children, and invited me and the Peacocks: Doug, Laurel and Colin. It was my first big river, and 20 years later still ranks as one of my favorite trips.
In the early 2000s, he hosted me for a reading at his store when I published my first book, Libby, Montana: Asbestos and the Deadly Silence of an American Corporation, about the death and destruction that the WR Grace Corporation wrought upon a small, working class town in rural Montana. I was a unknown Montana journalist., He had no reason to expect a profit from that event, but knew it was a story that needed to be told.
A few years later, Doug needed back surgery and had no one in Salt Lake to take care of him. Ken took him to and from the airport and the hospital, made sure he had a place to recover and fed him all the while.
Then, in 2010, Doug’s cousin Marc Beaudin and I had this half-baked plan to open a used bookstore in Livingston, Montana. Ken graciously, generously answered our questions from Day 1, and saw us through those first rocky years, providing references for scholarships, guiding us through our first book fairs, and ultimately sponsoring our application to the Antiquarian Bookstore Association of America. There is no better ambassador in America for the next generation of rare book dealers.
Ken Sanders is simply irreplaceable.
Andrea Peacock, Author, Activist, Bookseller
Few bookstores still exist that satisfy the craving for the smell of old paper, places where you can nose through stacks and magically, the book you need appears, even if it’s not the one you came in for. References and histories, rare books on order, entrance busy with every manner of human from the drunk to the erudite, and sometimes drunkenly erudite. If your city is fortunate enough to have one of these, I’d do everything I could to keep it.
The community of Ken Sanders Rare Books extends past this city to all of the West, part of my life in my little dot of Colorado, and part of so many more authors’ lives, an avenue for counterculture and wilderness. Stories have poured through here to packed houses, every aisle and seat filled, a microphone up front, a reader, a singer on guitar, or sometimes only a handful in the audience, each rapt, so glad they came.
Run by Ken Sanders himself, bearded guffawing laureate of literature from the Rockies to the sea, this shop is a cultural necessity. Historians may talk someday of how western society was nudged along by this man, by the tales he promoted and the eclectic range of books he brought to us.
Keep this place alive. Don't give it new digs or put its name up in lights. Keep it as is. The next generation will need it even more.
Craig Childs, Performance Author
The pulse tells you a lot about the health of a body. A bookstore is the pulse of a city. KSRB has been telling us a lot about the health of local culture. At this time, the health of the city is not good. This is reflected in the health of our bookstores, and especially KSRB. For the past 24 years (a family-owned shop since 1997), KSRB has held its own. Now it needs a helping hand.
This is not just a “book store” I’m talking about; not merely a venue for books. There are stores with books in them, and there are “book stores” (stores that sell books, as some stores sell shoes, or fish, or groceries). Then again there is the real McCoy: BOOKSTORE (one word).
Today, there are fewer and fewer “bookstores”, that is to say, not merely a venue that sells books, but a PLACE where books wait for readers, and create a backdrop for cultural exchanges that promote art, poetry, film, and literary events. Add to these, rare and the collectible objects and artifacts, and you have a BOOKSTORE: KEN SANDERS RARE BOOKS, the real McCoy.
On a personal note: my life both as reader and writer, would be a lot poorer if I had never entered this place. The major interactions and contacts with my community of readers and fellow poets/writers/filmmakers/ has been fostered by the physics of this place. This “bookstore” and the soul of the place, Ken Sanders himself: flesh and voice and beard ever growing wild.
Given all of the above, to say that I endorse KSRB and efforts to save it, is an understatement. Let my voice join the chorus: LONG LIVE KSRB and may we preserve the health of our Salt Lake City.
Senior Artist in Residence at UVU and ever, your friendly naybohood sonosopher
Exploring Ken’s book store is like going on a weird Safari in a library after an earthquake. There are books piled high, books tumbling down, books that rattle your very foundation. It is exciting and dangerous and it is one of my favorite places in the whole damn universe. The universe needs Ken’s book store to keep things in balance. If the store goes the way of the wind it could mean the end of the world! It is not just an institution, it is a vortex of madness, a depository of all the great ideas that have ever been and an incubator for the brilliance to come. Hell, Ken even sells my movies!
Trent Harris, Filmmaker
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