A cozy feminist coffee shop and bookstore opened up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn in late December. If you’re wondering what that entails, behold Cafe Con Libros, a coffeeshop with a curated selection of empowering books for and about women and girls. The shop’s official claim, “Cafe con libros is a feminist community bookstore, catering to book lovers, coffee aficionados, or both.” The coffee shop has activated a storefront that has been vacant for two decades at 724 Prospect Place, at the corner of Rogers Avenue. The shop is run by a husband and wife duo, Kalima Desuze and Ryan Cameron, and the building is owned by Kalima’s father, who hails from Panama. Cameron is from Jamaica and he has a young daughter together with Kalima.
On the left when you enter is a floor to ceiling bookshelf, with a desk at the center. Post-it notes on cork boards offer book suggestions from visitors. There are books by historical figures like Eleanor Roosevelt (You Learn by Living), modern figures like Shonda Rhimes (Year of Yes), and female writers like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Americanah), Rebecca Skloot (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks), and Octavia E. Butler (Kindred). There are books by present day figures like Malala Yousafzai (I Am Malala) Supreme Court Sustice Sonya Sotomayor (My Beloved World) and Hilary Clinton (What Happened).
Perhaps our favorite section however, is the section for kids, proclaimed by the sign “it’s a girl’s world.” Here there are games, as well as kids books like I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark, She Persisted: 13 Women Who Changed the World, and The Youngest Marcher.
The coffeeshop has alcove windows in which seating has been built, an exposed brick wall, and a tiled wall behind the coffee bar. The shop serves Irving Farm coffee and you can get coffee in various forms: cappuccino, cafe latte, Americano, drip coffee, espressos, macchiato and cortados. For teas, there’s herbal tea but also a tasty Kenyan Tea. You can grab pastries as well as a tote bag to put your new books in or a coffee mag.
Appropriately, when asked about the endeavor, Cameron tells us that his wife, Kalima, is the force behind the project. Join in for Cafe con Libros’ book meets, which are held regularly. The next one one is January 28th at 1 PM about The Alchemist.