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Cobble Hill Bookshop Looks to Open Writer's Haven in Catskill Mountains

 BookCourt, a neighborhood bookshop on Court Street, is looking to open BookCourt North in a refurbished barn.
BookCourt Looks to Open Writer's Haven in Catskill Mountains
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COBBLE HILL — Stacked with used-books in western Catskill Mountains sits an old barn that a neighborhood bookshop hopes to turn it into a writer’s haven.

Zack Zook, whose parents own BookCourt in Cobble Hill, noticed the Bibliobarn about seven years ago, a 3,000 square-feet bookshop barn on five acres of land and with over 50,000 books for sale.

“I fell in love with the place,” said Zook, who is the events and development manager at BookCourt.

When the Bibliobarn, about 160 miles away from the city, went on sale six months ago, Zook saw his opportunity to expand the Court Street store and create a bookshop, writer’s retreat and event space that will be called BookCourt North.

To purchase the $260,000 barn, BookCourt started a campaign last week to raise $300,000 to buy and renovate it. By spring 2014, he hopes to open the bookshop adding new books to the used collection. The writer’s space will open later in the year, a “distraction-free environment” where six to 12 people can work in peace, he said, of his plans.

The 16-year-old Bibliobarn caters to several small towns in the area, including the tiny book village of Hobart on the Catskill foothills and a number of universities and colleges in the area. Zook added that New Yorkers with second homes in the Catskill Mountains also frequent the shop.

Hoping to model the Bibliobarn off BookCourt in Cobble Hill, where there is a literary event almost every evening, Zook wants to bring lectures, book clubs and readings to the barn. It’s a way to bring the community into the space and keep the bookshop alive, he said.

Just a couple of hours outside the city, Zook hopes the space can be a weekend haven for writers and New Yorkers since many well-known retreats are much further outside the city.

“The goal is to make it a real stop on the map,” he said. “We’re no longer just a bookstore.”