This House of Books is the name for the Billings book co-op, revealed in front of a standing-room crowd Thursday afternoon at the Billings Public Library.
The name was suggested by several shareholders, and it seemed like the perfect way to honor the late Montana-born author Ivan Doig, said Gary Robson general manager. Doig's most-lauded book is "This House of Sky," written about growing up on the harsh and beautiful Montana land.
Doig's widow, Carol, was contacted about the new bookstore name and gave her blessing to it, Robson said.
“Our members/owners tend to be lovers of the Big Sky country, and many of us are writers,” Robson said.
The former Wendy’s restaurant on North 29th Street will be renovated into a 5,000 square-foot bookstore and tea room. It will open in late summer.
Billings architect Randy Hafer showed initial drawings of his plans for the space. The building was originally the YMCA, and the mezzanine was a running track.
Hafer said he wants to remove the awnings from the outside that cover up the mezzanine windows and to open up the space on the interior.
“We’re also hoping to provide outside seating for the tea bar,” Hafer said.
This House of Books will become a new cultural hub for downtown, Robson said. He wants to offer game nights, acoustic music, poetry readings, book signings and improv comedy.