Book Vault

Once a bank, the building still has three vaults that now serve as special interest sections.

OSKALOOSA — Tucked neatly between Smokey Row Coffee and Brown’s Shoe Fit sits one of Oskaloosa’s most interesting destinations: the Book Vault.

Once a bank, the building carries reminders of its past through preserved marble walls, stained glass skylights and even three original bank vaults, now each serving as a special interest area: mystery/true crime, Iowa, and discovery.

It’s hard to find a word that encapsulates the full experience of the store; unique, enchanting, and cozy are just a few attempts.

Visitors to the Book Vault can experience so much more than a traditional pop-in-and-out shopping trip as they maneuver the multi-story maze of book shelves and more.

With a coffee from the Smokey Row next door, patrons can sit down with a book and take in the ambience of the atmosphere.

For those just looking for the perfect gift, there’s no need to look further.

“It’s your one-stop shopping for Christmas,” manager Lisa Ossian said.“Not only do we have a variety of books, we have a lot of gifts.”

From the official Friends television series cookbook and washable books that babies can chew on to magnetic cat poetry and local wine, the Book Vault has a gift for everybody.

One of the business’s unique features that Ossain noted is a demonstration kitchen that she hopes to put to use in the future.

“Really interesting kitchen items is probably our strong point,” she said.

The store isn’t just a place for shopping, relaxing and reading, but also a place of gathering for various community events such as author visits and others in conjunction with Main Street.

Whether to pick up gifts, find a new puzzle, or just have a place to be for a few hours, a trip to Book Vault will never disappoint.

Shannon Rabotski can be reached at

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