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Our history and mission


Established in 2011hello hello books is an independent bookshop owned and operated by Lacy Simons in Rockland, Maine. We feature a healthy mix of used, new and bargain books, as well as a selection of hard-to-find magazines, art & craft, and rad gifts.





To foster active and vocal enthusiasm for books and print culture in a screen-centric world;
offer out-of-the-ordinary merchandise and gifts;
cultivate community and advocate for social justice;
and to do all of this with an independent spirit.




hello hello has deep and fabled roots: it began in 1992 as Second Read (later renamed Rock City), a business that was integral to Rockland's renaissance. In the spring of 2011, Lacy (then manager of the bookstore) purchased the bookstore piece of Rock City's business and transformed it into hello hello books. 

Along the way, Lacy and Rock City's owner decided to move out of the old Rock City location into a newly refurbished space just next door (check out photos of pre-and-post opening here) so they could remain adjacent to each other & enjoy some of the synchronicity that was an important piece of Second Read's beginnings while moving forward into a bold new future! Thus hello hello books can be found toward the back of Rock City Cafe, or via the side doors on Orient Street. Come over! 



February 2017: We were thrilled to be part of this New York Times article on the activist role of bookstores in the Age of Trump.

January 2017: We got shout-outs in Shelf Awareness (here and also here) and Publshers Weekly after Lacy's participation in the American Booksellers Association Winter Institute conference.



January 2014: Thanks and more thanks to the good people at Foxing Quarterly for making us the first story in their series on independent bookstores in the U.S.! 

September 2013: Maine magazine called us one of six essential bookstores in Maine.

June 2013: The Pen Bay Pilot said some super nice things about us in their "24 Hours in Rockland for the Coffee Fiend" write-up.

September 2012: Gwarlingo wrote an awesome, picture-packed article inspired by nothing more than Michelle's accidental discovery of the shop while kicking around Rockland. Awesome.

The Free Press article on our joint birthday party with Rock City Cafe!

August 2012: Lacy's best friend Val, currently a smartypants video producer forTIME, interviewed Lacy and made this marvelous little movie about the shop in honor of our first birthday!  Shelf Awareness liked the video well enough tofeature it in their (justly-beloved) newsletter.


July 2012: Here we are in New York Magazine! That's fun to say.

April 2012: The Boston Globe did a nice little roundup of spots to visit and shop and look around in Rockland, and you bet hello hello was included. (And so was a little picture that gives Lacy some serious perspective on the visual chaos that is the desk area she works in.) 

December 2011: Twice in a month ain't bad: interviewed for this piece in the New York TImes on how little shops are competing with giants online.

Beyond thrilled to have played a part in this wonderful op-ed by Richard Russo in the New York Times.





The Portland Press Herald did a feature on the transition into hello hello (note picture of me mid-explanatory-gesture as well as the appearance of Bill, one of my favorite customers) which was also picked up by The Kennebec Journal--the paper I grew up with.


Apparently the hello hello crowdsourcing/pledge drive story will be featured during the opening plenary session at the National Main Streets Conference this month! 


Bookseller nerd happiness ensues: I'm in 'Bookselling This Week'. 


Lucky enough to be welcomed by Edelweiss & Above the Treeline (via the estimable Joe Foster) in the Buyer Buzz feature here.


All over May's local roundup theSCENE--pgs 27, 30 and 36.


Like most indie booksellers, I love Shelf Awareness. Even on days when I'm not in it. This day, though, I was in it again.  It was a good Tuesday.


Not a bad way to start a Tuesday: discovering that Publishers Weekly shared your story with their 140,000+ Twitter followers.


The rocking Emily Burnham interviewed me for The Bangor Daily News and the story has been posted. It's fantastic to have a Maine paper behind me!


The amazing women behind the George Lapinski podcast had me on as a guest to talk about contemporary poetry, books and my bookstore-buying pledge drive. 


I made it into the MOBYLIVES Day in Review roundup here


Rebecca, of the justly famed Book Lady's Blog, also donated referral fees!


The Reading Ape donated referral fees to my pledge drive!


Was geeked to be noted by Ken Baumann in HTMLGIANT.


I was danged happy to be included in the Notes roundup of Shelf Awareness just a few days after launching my campaign to raise funds to buy the bookstore.






In which I learned a great deal about the power of community bookstores and social media.

My pledge drive ran from March 22nd-May 1st, 2011 and generated a lot of attention, for which I'll forever be thankful. Here are direct links to archived copies of my original post and the updates, all of which I've gathered for posterity on hello hello's tumblr site.


First pledge drive letter.


First pledge drive update.


Second pledge drive update.


Final pledge drive update and tally!