Inspiring Older Readers
57th Street Books, Hyde Park, Chicago
This beautiful red-brick independent bookstore is a real Tardis of a shop – the modest front window and porch door make you think you’re going into a small, domestic shop but once you’re inside it blossoms into a fabulous emporium with an amazing stock of new books, hard and soft covered.
57th Street Books is a branch of The Seminary Co-Op, a customer-owned book collective based in the Hyde Park area of Chicago. The Co-op started with a modest 17 members when it was founded and has grown to have over 53,000 today – quite a success story.
The shop’s website tells us:
57th St. Books was established in 1983 and caters to the literary interests of the greater Hyde Park community. With a world-class children’s department, a deep backlist selection and an enthusiastic staff, 57th St. Books has established itself as a gem among independent bookstores.
And a gem it is. The children’s section really is fantastic – it occupies plenty of space and the titles on the shelves are diverse and enticing. Somehow the shop gives the impression of being packed full of goodies and yet there was plenty of space to move and browsing was easy and fun.
I think this shop really is a must visit. The Hyde Park district is a half hour ride from the centre of Chicago but it’s not a difficult journey and you’ll be really well rewarded when you find the shop.
But keep your eyes open - we almost drifted past it because it doesn’t flaunt itself and we were so busy looking at the fabulous bohemian neighbourhood we had to do a double-take and track back to the shop entrance.
It certainly gets high votes from us and must be one of the most attractive independent shops we’ve been in.