Bookshop owner in Warwick recognised as a 'national hero' after going that extra mile to help her customers during the pandemic

As well as delivering books, she spent her time delivering food and prescriptions - as well as talking to people on the phone to make sure they were OK

Mog Giacomelli-Harris.
Mog Giacomelli-Harris.

The co-owner of a much-loved independent book shop in Warwick has been recognised as a 'national hero'.

Not only has Mog Giacomelli-Harris managed to keep Warwick Books going throughout the pandemic, but she has spent much of her time helping her customers get through lockdown by making food deliveries and spending time on the phone to them.

She is one of 29 people who have been named as The Bookseller's Bookshop Heroes class of 2020, the "extremely timely and celebratory" inaugural list of some of the best individual booksellers in the UK and Ireland.

Mog Giacomelli-Harris.

In the judges' description of Mog, they said that in five years she, and her wife and co-owner Pauline, 'have taken a well-respected indie and made it into a beloved Warwick institution'.

Mog said: "I am a little overwhelmed. This year more than any other feels like a collaborative effort.

"Accepting this recognition, I do it on behalf of everyone around me who has shown exceptional kindness throughout this trying year.

"Thank you to everyone for the support, smiles and kind words."

It is not just the stock and knowledgeable staff, says customer Michael Browne, but going that extra mile—such as during the spring lockdown, when Mog delivered not just books but groceries and prescriptions, plus “she spent a great deal of time on the phone to customers, conscious that they may not have spoken to anyone that day”.

For her part, she says it was the shop’s customers that “went to the next level”, particularly after the June reopening: “People really supported us," said Mog.

"But the great thing was just having people in the shop so we could chat about books, and not be a fulfilment centre.”

She is most looking forward to resuming events when things return to normal, as “we love that chemistry of the live events - we’re already chatting with author friends about it. I can’t wait.”

Bookshop Heroes was launched this year with the Booksellers Association (BA) and sponsorship by HarperCollins in order to expand the remit of the Individual Bookseller of the Year Nibbie, last awarded in 2019, to recognise the true scope of shop-floor talent.

Tom Tivnan, The Bookseller managing editor, said: "The idea for this list started in 2019 and part of it, quite frankly, was a bit of celebratory fun.

"But the events of this year have put the amazing work these booksellers do into much sharper focus.

"A really heartwarming thing has been the nominations pouring in from customers who were deeply appreciative of the work these booksellers have put in during the first lockdown and beyond.

"These Bookshop Heroes have met the initial wave of the pandemic and will undoubtedly continue to survive and thrive whatever challenges come next. So what better time to raise a glass to them? Or, better yet, to order a book or two from them?"

Warwick Books is based in Market Place, Warwick. For more information, call 01926 499939 or visit http://www.warwickbooks.net