City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco
City Lights Bookstore, “a literary meeting place founded in 1953”, continues to be as significant and important as the day it opened. Solely concentrating on the paperback book trade, its purpose expanded as it provided a niche not only for affordable and accessible literature, but it served (and continues to serve) as a space for dissident voices to be heard and aid in the dissemination of knowledge, reaching wider audiences. The mission of City Lights was furthered as it broadened into the publishing market and provided the means of making the dissident voices heard beyond the text.
As it has since its beginning, City Lights continues to be of great significance to the city of San Francisco because it is representative of many pivotal social and cultural movements and continues to be a symbol of counter culture, revolution, and free speech. City Lights not only has a rich history, but continues to contribute to a rich present and future through its publications, community events and readings, and the City Lights Foundation.
For more than 50 years, City Lights Books has promoted free speech, encouraged intellectual inquiry and provided a haven for unconventional writers. Inspired by City Lights Books, we have created an online “literary meeting place” for people of all backgrounds dedicated to free speech and critical thinking. Activists, writers, local Bay Area residents, tourists, and all other stakeholders are encouraged to explore our pages and posts and to promote our literary spirit.