Chuck Robinson was born and raised in a small Illinois farming community. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Sioux Falls College (now the University of Sioux Falls) in 1969 and received his Master’s Degree from the University of Missouri in 1973. In 1980, after teaching and consulting in education for ten years, Chuck, with his wife Dee, founded Village Books in Bellingham, Washington’s Historic Fairhaven District, and two years later founded Paper Dreams, a card and gift store. In November of 2015 a second Village Books and Paper Dreams store was opened in Lynden, WA. In January of 2017 the entire business was sold to three employees.
Chuck has been active in several book industry organizations, serving on the Board of Directors and as President of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association and for nine years as a Board Member of the American Booksellers Association (ABA), two years (1992 – 1994) as its President. He was the founding Vice-President of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression in 1990 and served until May of 2006 on its Board of Directors. Chuck has continued to serve on American Booksellers Association committees and advisory panels and as a board member of the Independent Booksellers Consortium.
He is currently a board member of LIBRIS (League of Booksellers Retail Insurance Services).Locally, in addition to working with several business organizations—including the Fairhaven Association, as a board member and president—Chuck has served on the Whatcom County Mental Health Board, the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force, and was a founding Board Member of City Club of Bellingham. He served on the board of the Whatcom County ACLU Chapter and the board of the Community Food Coop, was a founding member of the board of Sustainable Connections, and served for fifteen years on the board of the North Cascades Institute, including two years as its chair. Chuck was also an alternate to the White House Conference on Small Business in 1995, appointed by Washington State Governor Mike Lowry. He served two five-year terms as a trustee of Whatcom Community College where he served as the trustees’ representative to WCC’s Foundation for more than five years. He joined the board of directors of Whatcom Community Foundation in January of 2014.
Chuck began teaching at ABA Booksellers schools in 1982 and presented the first ABA international booksellers school in Singapore in 1987. In addition to booksellers schools he has been a presenter in numerous regional and national seminars as well as a presenter, on two occasions, for the British Booksellers Association, a speaker and panelist for the Canadian Booksellers Association, and a keynoter for the Australia Booksellers Association. He has taught for Bellingham Technical College, Whatcom Community College, and Western Washington University, and was selected in 2000 to join a national bookseller training team. Village Books was named the 2008 Outstanding Philanthropic Business in Washington State. Village Books has four times been selected as a finalist for Bookstore of the Year by Publishers Weekly Magazine. He is the author of It Takes a Village Books: 35 Years of Building Community, One Book at a TIme. Chuck was named Man of the Year by the Bellingham Whatcom Chamber of Commerce in 2016. Chuck lives in Lynden with his wife and business partner, Dee.
Dee Robinson (nee Otis) was born in Manchester, Iowa, and soon moved to Hastings, Nebraska, where she lived until going off to Sioux Falls College (now the University of Sioux Falls) from which she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1969. In 1973 she received a Master’s Degree from the University of Missouri. After teaching for ten years, Dee, with her husband Chuck, founded Village Books in Bellingham Washington’s Historic Fairhaven District, and two years later founded Paper Dreams, a card and gift store. A second Village Books and Paper Dreams was opened in Lynden, WA in November of 2015, and the entire business was sold to three employees in January of 2017.
Dee has been active in the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association where she served on the Education and Literacy committees and on the Board of Directors. She has also taught in bookseller schools and participated in numerous seminars for the American Booksellers Association as well as serving on the ABA’s Bookseller Advisory Council.
In addition to the many hours she spends reading, Dee has been actively engaged in supporting a number of community organizations and causes including the Whatcom Literacy Council, Sustainable Connections, and City Club of Bellingham, where she was a charter member and now serves on its program committee. Village Books was named the 2008 Outstanding Philanthropic Business in Washington State. Dee was named Woman of the Year in 2016 by the Bellingham Whatcom Chamber of commerce. Dee lives in Lynden with her husband and business partner Chuck, who she married as a Junior in college.
It Takes a Village Books is the story of an idea that became a bookstore and a bookstore that became a central part of the community. It’s also a personal story of two people who found their passion and turned it into a life. The book also references business tips, growth strategies and our successful approach to building community partnerships.