Celebrating four decades of literary legacy: Words Worth Books marks its 40th anniversary


This year marks the 40th anniversary of Words Worth Books, a beloved independent bookstore in Uptown Waterloo. Known not only  for its diverse selection of literature but also as a warm, welcoming space for community gathering, Words Worth Books is a testament to the success that comes when a business prioritizes community relations. 

Mandy Brouse, co-owner of Words Worth Books and proud UW alumni, speaks about the bookstore’s role as a community hub: “Words Worth books started in 1984 with a clear mission,” Brouse said. “The original owners, Tricia Siemens and Chuck Erion, saw a need for an independent bookstore and we’ve (in reference to her co-owner David Worsley) proudly continued that legacy.” 

The store has been a cultural hub, hosting thousands of authors over the years, including prominent figures like Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje. Brouse reflects on the store’s role in the community: “From the beginning, we’ve hosted countless authors, fostering a strong literary culture in the region. This tradition is something we are keen to continue. This June, we’re hosting Louise Penny.”

The relationship between Words Worth Books and the academic community has also been pivotal. Brouse said, “We’ve provided textbooks when campus bookstores couldn’t meet demands, often at the request of professors seeking a more personal touch for their students.” This service enhances the educational experience, directing students to explore Uptown’s vibrant offerings.

As Words Worth Books celebrates this significant milestone, Brouse reflects on the store’s future, expressing hopes to possibly start an independent publishing company focusing on local authors. “It’s something that we’ve kind of recently brought back up, especially after 40 years, it might be time to step into a next chapter potentially.”

Brouse also extends an invitation to students new to the region: “Consider Words Worth Books as a third space. It’s more than just a place to buy books; we really do create a community.”

As Words Worth Books looks forward to the next decade, it remains dedicated to its mission of promoting literacy and community involvement, ensuring it remains a vital part of Waterloo’s community.

For more information on Words Worth Books and their anniversary celebrations, visit their website at Words Worth Books.