Thieves broke into a St. Louis, Missouri children’s art studio late last week, stealing dozens of children’s books. Two local independent bookstores are stepping in to replace the books.

The art studio, called Faces in the Loop, caters to young housing development residents by organizing art classes, projects, and other creative activities. Left Bank Books and Subterranean Books, two nearby booksellers, are collaborating to replace the stolen books as soon as possible.

According to Left Bank Books’ website, the stolen books all “contained beautiful images, African-American images, and a sense of African-American history or culture.”

To replenish the art studio’s library, Left Bank employees have been pulling books from store shelves, and donating them to Faces in the Loop for the past several days. Besides donating books from their inventory, Left Bank is also donating a $100 gift certificate. In addition, Left Bank is actively soliciting donations from store patrons, of either books or gift certificates.

“It’s been unbelievable,” Jarek Steele, Left Bank’s co-owner, told PW, “People have been coming in and donating their own books. [Patrons] have already donated 40-50 books, and maybe $300 in gift certificates. I sent out an email Friday afternoon, and received five online orders within 15 minutes.”

Kelly von Plonski at Subterranean, about five miles away from Left Bank, also reported an overwhelming response to that store’s call for donations. Unlike Left Bank, Subterranean, which is evolving from a primarily used bookstore into a primarily new bookstore, has received more money than books from patrons.

“People aren’t sure what [Faces in the Loop] wants, what’s missing. It’s easier to write checks or to drop off cash,” she explained, estimating that she’s collected about $1000 in donations so far.

For more information about Left Bank Books and Subterranean Books’ joint book drive to support Faces in the Loop, or to make a donation, contact Left Bank Books at (314) 367-6731 or Subterranean Books at (314) 862-6100.