Cabinet housing the Barringer Collection
Before opening Little Professor Book Center (now Park Road Books) at Park Road Shopping Center in August of 1977, John Barringer served seventeen years in the Lutheran Ministry in congregations in Charleston, WV, Chicago, Illinois and the Washington DC area. In 1964 he was named an Exchange Pastor to Germany for the Lutheran World Federation. While in the ministry he also was very active in volunteer Fire/Rescue work. (Yes, he did deliver two babies-including one to the wife of his congregation’s treasurer on a snowy February night!)
John was also a strong contender to become the first US Cultural attache in East Berlin when the US established diplomatic relations in 1976 with the former East Germany. Looking back, he admits that having a Southern democratic Senator sponsoring him during Nixon’s administration was probably not his wisest political move!
When he doesn’t have his nose stuck in a book, John very much enjoys traveling-especially what he calls “travel with a purpose.” As a member of Charlotte’s “Friendship Force” he has visited remote Kyrgystan and has lived with two families in Cuba (legally); with fellow Rotarians from Dilworth he has twice assisted in dental work in Bolivian orphanages; he has helped build homes in Honduras for victims of Hurricane Mitch; he has done work with Rotary in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador and in Arequipa, Peru; he partnered with a foundation in Wittenberg, Germany to establish a Library in American Studies and served two terms on the Board of Directors of Charlotte’s Sister Cities Committee.
He has also served on the Board of Directors of both the American Booksellers Association and the Southeastern Booksellers Association. He has served since 2004 as World Community Service Chairman for the 53 Rotary Clubs of Rotary District 7680, and also volunteers at Habitat for Humanity ReStore and the USO at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. He’s been a staunch supporter of Flight of Honor. He also serves as President of the Board of Directors of Samaritan House- a step down facility for the homeless as they recover from hospitalization from being sick or injured.
John's own reading tastes run the gamut from biographies and political science to good southern novelists ala Reynolds Price, Pat Conroy, and Robert Inman - but, he says he’ll always be a devotee of any good spy novel-especially if it’s set in Berlin!
Over the years, John and his wife collected an impressive library of first editions, signed copies of famous works, and rare books. In the summer of 2012, this collection was generously donated to Everett Library for display. Aided by a donation from the Friends of the Library at Queens, a beautiful glass-fronted cabinet was purchased to house the collection. Students and visitors to Everett may browse the collection, located on Everett Library's mezzanine.