• In Other Words
  • Closing?

On Sunday, Madeline Jaross, an In Other Words Board member, told the Oregonian that the nonprofit, volunteer-operated feminist bookstore and community center might close at the end of of February. She cited a lack of financial resources, low board retention, and a shortage of volunteers as contributing factors. She told the Oregonian that In Other Words gained name recognition as a Portlandia filming location, but that greater visibility did not translate to improved finances.

Yesterday, In Other Words reached out directly via email, corroborating press coverage and rumors that they were closing, and outlined exactly what would need to happen to keep their doors open. Here's the email:

Hello friends. Here is some news, the rumor you probably heard about In Other Words closing is partly true. We are facing some problems as an organization and we urgently need to fix them by November 8th .

No one among the volunteers, people that use the space to show their work, for rehearsals, organize meetings, or teach/take classes wants to see IOW close.

We need help. We are reaching to our community.


o In order to stay open, In Other Words needs a substantial increase in financial gifts, particularly in monthly sustaining funds. Please visit our fundraising page to make a financial gift today in the name of feminist community building. Please encourage your friends and networks to do the same.

In Other Words has an urgent need for more volunteer leadership. Please view the job descriptions at the bottom of our homepage and email to express interest in volunteering, and plan to attend the volunteer orientation on October 18th at 3PM. Please encourage your friends and networks to do the same.

o In Other Words has an urgent immediate open seats on the Board of Directors. Job descriptions are attached, and also listed at the bottom of our home page Please to apply to the board of directors, and plan to attend the next Board of Directors meetings on October 16th at 6:15PM.

The email also included job descriptions (.pdf) for nine positions In Other Words needs to fill.

Obviously, it's sad to see any bookstore close its doors for financial reasons, but it's also worth noting that In Other Words is one of only 13 remaining feminist bookstores in the country. Feminist bookstores might seem like a relic of '70s, but in a literary climate where gender parity in publishing is nowhere near where it needs to be, they serve a much-needed purpose.

The official decision to close or stay open won't be made until a general assembly meeting on November 8.