Librería Donceles

Connect, relax and explore this traveling Spanish language bookstore made up of thousands of used books.

On view from August 2, 2019 - July 26, 2020

Get lost in novels and tales as you explore Librería Donceles, a traveling bookstore.

Browse thousands of used Spanish language books in this completely interactive art installation. Take books off the shelves, read, share, and explore the infinite stories that make up our community. When it opens Librería Donceles will be the only Spanish language bookstore in Santa Cruz County.

Chat with strangers, play a game of chess with friends, relax in the back with a good book, or host your next workshop or meeting inside. Check back soon to see what upcoming bilingual events, performances, and workshops will be hosted here.

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“A Bookstore like this would likely not exist unless it was an artwork…”

Pablo Helguera

History of Librería Donceles

Librería Donceles was created by artist and educator Pablo Helguera out of a desire to address the lack of bookstores that serve the growing Hispanic and Latinx communities in the United States. Although the books are Spanish-language specific, the project reflects on issues of access, equity, and inclusion that are relevant to everyone.

Named after the historic street of used booksellers in Mexico City, Librería Donceles opened its doors in 2013 at a temporary storefront in Brooklyn, New York. It has since traveled to Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Indianapolis, Boston, and many other locations across the US. In each of these cities, it has been the sole Spanish-language bookstore.

Meet the Artist

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Pablo Helguera

Read Bio

In the News

Librería Donceles: Culture Written, Culture Read

"On the surface, it’s fairly basic, but it has pretty major implications. It’s about visibility, tolerance, understanding, and the importance of preserving cultural richness and diversity."

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The Only Librería in Town

“Whenever you are questioning a culture — as we are in this moment when immigration is being criminalized — it is really important that there is a richness to every culture,” Helguera said. “Before you condemn an entire culture, you should really better understand it.”

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Artist Brings Spanish Language Bookstore to Santa Cruz

“It feels like you’re in someone’s living room, like you’re hanging out in a place that you’ve been to, but it’s somehow still new.”

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Inside Santa Cruz's First Spanish Bookstore

“From movie tickets to love letters, business cards and pressed flowers and religious images, we found things—secrets—that people put in their books. They become biographies of people’s lives. That can’t happen digitally.”

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Spanish language bookstore installed in Santa Cruz museum

“There is a big lack of Spanish literature in this country, which is strange, as it’s the second most popular language after English,” Helguera said. “Having a place like this… fills such big role, especially for communities like [Santa Cruz County].”

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Come Visit Today

Librería Donceles may not be here yet, but in the meantime check out exhibitions on view now.