Ken Sanders Rare Books to open new boutique at Leonardo

“I’ve always said it looks like a library after an earthquake,” Utah filmmaker and director Trent Harris said of Ken Sanders Rare Books. Photo by Harrison Porter, employee of Ken Sanders Rare Books.

(Photo courtesy Harrison Porter)

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SALT LAKE CITY — A popular Salt Lake City bookstore that faces the closure of its current location is opening a new boutique location elsewhere in the city.

Ken Sanders Rare Books will open a new boutique on the first floor of The Leonardo Wednesday, according to a joint statement by Sanders and officials for the Salt Lake City museum Monday. The new boutique will sell books related to art, science and technology, as well as books tied to collections, exhibits and programs within the museum.

The museum's new open hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

In addition, the two will collaborate on a monthly book club for Leonardo members. The first book as a part of the joint venture will be announced later this week.

Monday's announcement doesn't put an end to the fate of Ken Sanders Rare Books' current location in downtown Salt Lake City. The business, located at 268 S. 200 East, opened in the 1990s and fell on hard times in recent years.

Sanders, who has sold books at various book stores for over 50 years, launched a GoFundMe campaign last year to help the business survive the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign has since received over $135,000 of its $250,000 goal since it was launched last summer.

In a statement Monday, Sanders acknowledged "the bulldozers are getting closer and closer to our home of the past 25 years" but added he was excited about the new boutique location and partnership with The Leonardo.

"Especially with the joint book club program, we hope to reach a lot of people and engage them in deep discussions about books and big ideas," his statement read, in part.

Alexandra Hesse, the executive director for The Leonardo, added that the museum staff was excited to work with Sanders as a part of the partnership.

"His passion for literature and writing is contagious and we hope this boutique presence will give our visitors a chance to connect with his love of learning and the incredible stories and knowledge to be found in his books," she said, in a statement. "Not only are we honored to have Ken's store as a physical presence at The Leonardo, we are so excited to be jointly programming community events, because now more than ever, we believe in the importance of the exchange of ideas, community dialogue and curiosity about each other's stories."

The museum plans to announce its first book club title through a Facebook Live event at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for


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