The Shelf Lovers Story
Books have always played a huge part in my life. As a child who lived for quiet reading time and who carried a book with me wherever I went, I always dreamed of owning my own bookshop. My Grandmother inadvertently introduced me to Mills & Boons when I was 12 and when I discovered the more age-appropriate Sweet Dreams and Dolly Fiction romance for teens, I knew that if I ever did own a bookshop, romance books and books that celebrate love of all kinds would have to feature quite heavily.
Not surprisingly, my first career was as a librarian. I transitioned to policy work in 2019, however I firmly believe that once you become a librarian, you are a librarian for life.
When my now 15 year-old-son came out as transgender and gay in 2020, my first port of call to learn how best to support him was, of course, books. I found that the information I was looking for was hard to come by. There wasn’t a huge range of LGBTQIA+ themed books available to browse and view in hard copy, particularly in mainstream stores. There also wasn’t a large range of books for him to read that included trans teens and other diverse representations. The idea for Shelf Lovers started there. I wanted to be able to offer a place where people could find hard-to-source LGBTQIA+ and romance themed books in the one spot, as well as create a safe space and sense of community.
The shop was established with the help of my book-loving family and opened on 1 July 2023. If you pop in, you are sure to run into my children, who work part time in the store, as well as my sister, who is a library assistant and fellow romance reader.
In addition to books, we stock an exciting selection of literary and LGBTQIA+ themed gifts and pop culture accessories. Choose from a variety of items such as lapel pins, earrings, scarves, tote bags, bookmarks, prints, greeting cards and cross-stitched and crocheted items. We are proud to support local businesses and artists, including queer-owned businesses. Whether it’s a treat for yourself or a thoughtful token for someone else, you can choose from a variety of handmade items and fun trinkets. Every book and item available at Shelf Lovers has been carefully selected and handpicked because we think it might be of help or bring someone a little joy. If you think we should hold something and you can’t see it on the shelves or on our website, let us know and we’ll do our best to try and source it for you.
We stock a range of books for little ones and tweens that explore queer families, social experiences, gender expressions and more. All titles are connected by a message of unconditional love and acceptance.
Our collection of YA books aren’t just for teens and young adults, they can be enjoyed by adults too. The books feature LGBTQIA (as well as heterosexual) characters as they explore evolving sexualities and gender identities.
The non-fiction titles cover a broad range of topics across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, and include memoirs, handbooks, informational guides and workbooks for children, teens and adults.
Find something in our carefully chosen selection of fiction titles, including classics and contemporary novels featuring LGBTQIA+ characters and narratives, written by LGBTQIA+ authors or exploring themes that affect the LGBTQIA+ community.
With the prolific publishing of romance books in ebook and audiobook format, come along to Shelf Lovers to find hard copies of some of your old favourites, as well as copies of hard-to-find contemporary romance. With such an eclectic collection, you are bound to find a copy of your next reading obsession.
Here at Shelf Lovers we absolutely love a good romance novel, often the cornier the better! In our ever-expanding collection of LGBTQIA+ romances, you can find stories (not just corny ones) featuring characters of all gender and sexual identities as they find love.