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Sunday, February 19, 2023



Libelula Books, Barrio Logan, San Diego, CA

I'm inspired by how dragonflies are both tough and fragile; fierce and mild.” 

    ― Cindy Crosby, Author of "Chasing Dragonflies: A Natural, Cultural, and Personal History."

GUEST BLOG / By Jesi Gutiérrez & Celi Hernández, published in the community section of the San Diego Union Tribune-- If you would’ve told us 10 years ago that six days a week, every evening at 5:59 p.m., we would be turning off small funky lamps sprinkled throughout colorful bookshelves, stacking a book cart and scooping up the world’s cutest cat to take home after a full day at the bookshop we co-own in Barrio Logan, we would have both bet money to prove the impossibility. 


Celi Hernandez
The truth is we saw each other daily in another bookshop for years. During that time, we never shared more than a couple of words, and most days we simply exchanged cash for that necessary evil, coffee and an occasional book. The late great Upstart Crow, a coffee bookshop that stuck around for 30 years, was a San Diego best-kept secret. 

On weekends, it was crawling with tourists who flocked to Seaport Village to capture the picturesque waterfront and buy overpriced silly socks. But Monday through Thursday? Those four long, sun-filled days belonged to the locals, the seagulls and the kites. And to us. As we remember it, one particular Monday was the slowest of slow days. The perfect day for Celi to walk into an old, cozy bookshop, order a coffee and make herself comfortable upstairs with a stack of books and a cup of coffee. 

Jesi Gutierrez
There was not a soul in sight that day, except for the barista — Jesi — who had not been working at the bookshop for some time but who, due to a series of delightful events, was asked to come in to cover a shift. Neither of us were supposed to be working that day. Celi — a part-time hat milliner — was also covering a rare shift at the village hat shop and had decided to steal a quiet moment at the bookstore. In a messy pile, the milliner had three books atop her table — “Universal Sign Language,” “Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison” by Piper Kerman, and the classic that prompted the barista to strike, “Dykes to Watch Out For,” by Alison Bechdel. 

You see, the barista had had a longtime quiet crush on this Monday reader and part-time hat milliner. Armored in a work apron, the barista prepared a curious assortment of cookies, a favorite book — “All About Love: New Visions” by bell hooks — and a refill cup of coffee. Tray in hand, the barista made the long journey up the stairs and, without breathing, asked to sit at the milliner’s table. 

 Ten years later, and we are still making bets on one another and trying to decide how we can fit more bookish fun and art into Libélula’s small 700-square-foot space. Gutiérrez and Hernández are co-owners of Libélula Books & Co. in Barrio Logan neighborhood where they live.

Libelula Books & Co. 950 South 26th St. San Diego CA

Across the Street

--Café Moto, 2619 National Ave. [closes 3 pm]
--Storymakers Coffee Roasters, 2309 National Ave.

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