If you've ever paid a visit to Left Bank Books, odds are you've seen Barry Leibman. He's the mustachioed gray-haired gent with the owlish glasses who variously rings up your purchases, guides you through the store's maze of shelves and tells you exactly what you should read next.
Leibman has been a co-owner of Left Bank since 1977 when he, Kris Kleindienst and Justin James bought the bookstore from its previous owners and moved it from the Delmar Loop to its present Central West End location. Since then, he has been as much a mainstay in the shop as its mascot Spike the Cat.
That's all about to end, though. Thursday, January 7, will be Leibman's last day at Left Bank. The bookseller just turned 65 and plans to retire to Whidbey Island in Puget Sound with his wife, Caroline. Kleindienst will continue to run the store with Jarek Steele.
For more, read Jane Henderson's interview with Leibman from yesterday's Post-Dispatch. And to learn more about Leibman's true skill as a bookstore owner (hint: it has nothing to do with you, gentle customers), watch this tribute video created by Left Bank's staff, after the jump:
The tribute to Leibman's talent begins around 2:10: