For over 30 years, Margie and Mark Arnold have provided the Port Pirie community with books while encouraging generations of young people to read.
On September 26, 1991, they opened their doors in a small shop on Flinders Arcade.
Prior to Megs, Margie was a teacher at St. Marks and Port Augusta High with a strong passion for reading, and Mark was the chief officer of the development board.
During this time they both loved to read and they always shared books with their nieces and nephews.
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Over the years they have had many visits from famous authors from all over Australia including Mem Fox, Fiona McIntosh, Terry Underwood, Loretta Hill, Craig Smith, Margareta Osborn, Tricia Stringer and many more.
Margie and Mark agreed that Mem Fox’s visit was one of the biggest events and the start of all Harry Potter books.
âBecause it was a worldwide release, it was midnight in London what was 8:30 am in Pirie, so it was a good time. We’d dress up. We would have hundreds of people here, âsaid Mark.
“We were just so exhausted at the end of the day,” laughed Margie.
One of the biggest events they hosted was when Mark Ricciuto came into the store to bring out his book.
âThe shop was just full. People were lining up on the shelves and in front of the door, âsaid Mark.
“He just sat there and signed and grinned for the photos. A lot of mothers were very interested in taking a picture with him.”
You have cleared the hurdles and survived the waves of technology from Kindles to Kobos.
“When the e-books came out, there was a bit of doom and darkness for a while,” said Mark.
âPeople who love books kept buying books. There was a time when it almost went out of style, but now it’s back in style.
“Even people who have a Kindle come in and say they want to read a book for a change.”
Margie was also the brain behind the “Read Aloud” program to encourage parents to read aloud to their children.
The incentive brought schools to the store to read books to an audience. The event has now been implemented in school programs.
“I didn’t read as a kid and my brother always read, which annoyed me. He didn’t want to play with me,” said Margie.
Her brother was a kind of inspiration for Margie to pick up the books and fall in love with them too.