McDonald’s Used Books will reopen March 30 under brand-new management.
Local business owner Kayleigh Lawson will open the doors at 9 a.m.
Lawson, a self-proclaimed bibliophile, always has dreamed of being surrounded by books.
“A love of books is one of my defining characteristics, according to most people who know me,” she said in an interview March 28. “So I have always wanted to work with books.”
For Lawson, the decision to take over the bookstore was an easy one when she saw owner Patrick McDonald was looking for a new owner.
“When I saw that they were looking for someone to take it over, I decided to look into it,” she said.
“I knew that I didn’t want anything to happen to the bookstore, because I love it so much.”
In fact, Lawson contemplated taking over the bookstore once before, in 2016.
“My husband and I had just purchased a house. We needed to settle in before making any drastic life changes,” she said.
However, life took Lawson in a different direction later that year, when she co-founded Ark City Daily Bytes with a business partner. “This time, it just felt like it was the right time,” she said.
No changes planned
Plans for the bookstore, at this time, are relatively simple — to open the doors again and let fellow bibliophiles come back for their purchases.
“I’ll probably spend a couple of months seeing what’s working and if anything needs tweaked, and go from there,” Lawson said.
“I am really looking forward to meeting the patrons, getting to know them and seeing what kind of things they would like.”
She does not currently plan to move the store from its familiar downtown location at 314 S. Summit St.
Lawson: Book lover
Lawson’s love of books was cemented firmly in her childhood.
“Honestly, it all goes back to my parents. My mother always read to me and my sisters while we were growing up,” she said.
Among the books they would read were the Little House series.
“When I started to learn how to read, I discovered novels such as Stuart Little, White Fang and the Narnia series,” she said. “I was pretty much hooked.”
As an adult, her love of reading has not waned. “I read very eclectically — everything from classics to children’s books. … I particularly enjoy fantasy, historical fiction and mysteries,” Lawson said.
Her personal library is quite extensive in its own right, containing more than 4,000 books.
“I am constantly culling and adding new titles. What is added depends on my reading mood at the time,” Lawson said.
“I weed out books I’ve read and didn’t like, or ones that I liked, but can’t ever see myself reading again. But if I really love a novel, I not only keep it, but read it many times over. There are some I own multiple copies of or read annually.”
Literacy is important to Lawson, who tries to promote it in any way possible.
“I write book reviews, fill City Hall’s Little Free Library on a regular basis and serve on the Arkansas City Public Library Board of Trustees,” she said. Lawson currently serves as president of the library board.
“I also talk the ear off anyone who will listen about books, and I give them as gifts,” she said.
“One time, my oldest nephew asked who an unopened gift was from, because it wasn’t labeled. When he found out it was from me, he said, ‘Oh, good, new books.’ He was only 5 at the time.”
Lawson also would like to assure readers that Ark City Daily Bytes won’t be going away in light of her new business venture.
“Nothing will really change, except the location of the first business,” she said.
“I am a co-owner of Ark City Daily Bytes and we’ll be moving our office into the open office space in the bookstore.
“Daily Bytes will continue to be dedicated to providing the highest quality of news service possible. I will always have a love for truth, justice and the American way!”