It’s my favorite book store in Iowa – where they store their valuables (books) in the vaults! Yes, no kidding – there are three vaults and they keep specific themes in each of the vaults.
One vault is dedicated to Iowa – either written by an Iowan or a book about Iowa. The second vault houses mysteries and true crimes. Can you imagine sitting in an old bank vault previewing true crime books? Errie! The last vault is reserved for a discovery theme for children.
During our most recent visit, my wife was exploring the children’s section on the 2nd floor and was approached by a four-year-old boy – “Have you seen this book?” She responded with “I have not seen it, is it good?” He went on to tell describe it and tell her how good it was. “It’s a good one, you have to see this one”. It was called ” Farm Tails” by Scholastic, where the tail of each farm animal is sticking out of the book. My wife was pulled in by his enthusiasm and she did purchase the book for our granddaughter. She even asked at the front counter, if there’s any way to give the four-year-old his sales commission.
Location: 105 S. Market, Oskaloosa, IA, 52577
The history of the Book Vault
The building originally opened in 1892 as a bank when the nearby town of Buxton was running coal mines. In 2005 it was converted to a book store by owners Nancy Simpson and Julie Hansen. It opened to the public on Dec 3rd, 2005.
Book Vault was named one of the coziest places in Iowa back in 2016 by Travel Iowa – and cozy is exactly the right word. Starting out front, the exterior of the building still speaks of its banking years with the large columns, but narrow storefront. It’s nestled between Smokey Row Coffee and Brown’s Shoe Fit.
The entrance to the mystery/true crime vault on the first floor.
The narrow storefront still reminds you of their banking years.
If you visit during the month of December, be sure to stay after sunset to check out the holiday lights on the town square in Oskaloosa.