Rainy Books is nestled in The Fairway Shops at Belinder and Shawnee Mission Parkway . This local bookstore began in November 1975, when owner Vivien Jennings made the decision to quit her job working in international law and open a bookstore.
“I loved reading and I had attained everything I had, in that point in my life, through books, so I wanted to share the passion I had for books and for reading,” Jennings said.
Since opening almost forty years ago, it has seen the change and expansion of literature. Rainy Day Books has become deeply involved in the community of Kansas City, through author visits, outreach programs and an overall promotion of literature.
The store brings upwards of 300 authors to Kansas City to speak to audiences from students, general public and corporate events. Rainy Day Books was the facilitator that brought the author, Jay Asher and his anti-bullying campaign to East. Along with author visits. Rainy Day also supports and has started several literacy outreach programs in Kansas City. Including Reach Out and Read Kansas, Hooked on Books and Rotary 13 Club.
“One of the things that is important that if you can read you can teach yourself to do anything and take yourself anywhere,” Jennings said. “We’ve always had an open mind to what we can contribute and how can we leave a legacy of literature.”
While Rainy Day Books is involved with schools all over the metro area, it has a special tie to East. Jennings’ daughter and grandchildren have and still attend SME. Currently, Halle Connelly is a junior at East and has grown up with the bookstore.
“I practically grew up here,” Connelly said. “It’s been an opening to get to know the community to better.”
While promoting literacy and literature to the community, Jennings and her family also have a standard for reading and education. Connelly and her siblings have grown-up in and around the store. They have worked in the store, helped with events and help pick book selections.
“The understanding of the wealth that this there in books. We wanted them to have the gift of literature,” Jennings said. I think they have seen the results that they are big readers and are now great students because they have that affinity for reading
Rainy Day Books works to create a “legacy of literature” not only for Kansas City but also within the family that started and still owns the store.