Indigo Bridge is a local bookstore that has been open since 2008 and is currently closed due to moving and construction. Aiming to be a center of diversity, inclusion and accessibility, Aaliyah Samci, the bookstore’s director of operations and marketing, attests strongly to the store’s pursuit.
“Our whole mission is to uplift underrepresented communities,” Samci said. “So every book in our store is written by an underrepresented author. That’s either a queer author or [women authors and authors of color] ... any community that isn’t society’s default.”
The whole process of creating an inclusive literary community breaks down into three phases: the books they sell, the image they display and the personal motivations when it comes to fuelling these ideals. For the books, Samci said it’s a rigorous process.
“So our book side manager, Malcolm, is amazing,” Samci said. “He’s the one that looks through every single book that we want to purchase and put on our shelves and makes sure that it meets a certain criteria.”
The books follow two main guidelines: that it should be created by a person who’s part of an underrepresented group and that it shouldn’t contain disrespectful content.
“I feel like when I tell people this, I always put like a little asterisk on it, because I think that sometimes in fiction, the character does go through something traumatic and harmful to their identity,” Samci said. “I think that’s a little different from having a nonfiction book that is clearly meant to be harmful to their identity.”
Regarding its image, the bookstore aims to be more than just a bookstore. On the website there are different sections that don’t just pertain to books, but to local events, blogs and a lengthy list of community resources.
“Because our whole mission is to uplift underrepresented groups, we also understand that a lot of people in marginalized groups, especially in Nebraska, do not have the resources that other people in this town have,” Samci said. “It’s really important to us to be able to communicate with people and spread the information of any resources that anyone could possibly work [with]. We’re very community-based here.”
On top of that, the bookstore seeks to spread community spirit and awareness through external means as well, such as their revamped ideas for their new bookstore location. Now located at 1624 S. 17th St, the new location will open in mid-to-late October, and updates can be found on their website.
“We’re opening up our coffee shop again,” Samci said. “It’s gonna be a coffee shop slash bookshop, [and] all the coffee and materials that we use are from locally-sourced places. It’s our big thing in helping the local economy as well as the local community.”
In terms of her personal motivation, Samci said that because of her personal ties to the community, she needs to do the best that she possibly can.
“As a queer woman, as a biracial woman, I always, always want to represent my community in the best way,” Samci said. “I want to uplift my community.”
Indigo Bridge proves time and time again that they’re willing to go above and beyond for their community, not only as a bookstore, but as a staff family. Their pro-Black Lives Matter and pro-Queer community is something that shows through their bookstore and website, Samci said.
“When I describe Indigo, I usually describe it as a bookstore, coffee shop and community space,” Samci said. “I want everybody in our community to feel welcome.”
This article was modified at 2:28 on Sept. 27 2022 to correct two quotes. "...our book site manager, Malcolm..." was changed to "...our book side manager, Malcolm..." and "That’s either a queer author or authors of women of color..." was changed to "That’s either a queer author or [women authors and authors of color]..." The store's tentative opening day was also changed from mid-to-late September to mid-to-late October.