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Chicago Independent Bookstore Day

Open Books River North sells used books to finance literacy campaigns.
Open Books River North sells used books to finance literacy campaigns.
Photo Courtesy of Kara Cochran

Nine independent bookstores in Chicago have banded together to celebrate Chicago Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday, July 12, 2014. These are The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square, 57th Street Books and Seminary Coop in Hyde Park, Sandmeyer’s in Printer’s Row, Unabridged Books in Lakeview, Open Books in River North, City Lit Books in Logan Square, Powell’s Bookstore in University Village, and Women & Children First in Andersonville.

Nine score – 180 – people (or 180 groups of people) who spend at least $30 at one of those bookshops on July 12th will be given the first piece in a puzzle made by artist Lilli Carré. Each store can set twenty people out on the journey. To collect all the pieces, they will have to visit all nine shops by Sunday, August 3, 2014.

The group states, “To encourage Chicago readers to visit their own neighborhood store as well as the other unique stores in different neighborhoods—from Hyde Park to Logan Square to Andersonville—indie stores are offering special deals, free books, and refreshments. Customers will also receive a handful of puzzle pieces from each participating store that will fit together to create an exclusively designed frameable print by Lilli Carré.”

Lilli Carré is an interdisciplinary artist and illustrator currently living in Chicago. Her animated films have been shown in festivals throughout the US and abroad, including the Sundance Film Festival, and she is the co-founder of the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation. She has created several books of comics, most recently a children’s comic, Tippy and the Night Parade from Toon Books. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, The New York Times, Best American Comics and Best American Nonrequired Reading, amongst other places.

Elsewhere, the group states, “Some stores are having events. Some stores are having giveaways. Some will have author appearances…. You'll have until August 3 to collect all of the pieces, but you have to start on July 12… But here's the deal. This puzzle is exclusive. Like low number exclusive. 180 total puzzles produced. Each store is only able to start 20 people on their puzzle collecting journey. So you had better to get to your store early if you want to start collecting the puzzle… You have to spend at least $30 to get your first set of pieces. AND YOU HAVE TO ASK FOR THEM.”

The Book Cellar is a bookshop-cum-wine bar in Lincoln Square on the North Side. The address is 4736-38 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60625. The phone number is (773) 293-2665.

Seminary Co-Op Bookstores celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation in 2011. One year later, it moved its flagship Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, now also known as the Woodlawn Avenue Store, one block east to 5751 S. Woodlawn Avenue.

It continues to operate a wonderful general-interest shop, 57th Street Books.[1] Both are in Hyde Park on the South Side. On the North Side, The Newberry Library resumed management of the A.C. McClurg Bookstore effective Friday, November 1, 2013 after the Seminary Co-op Bookstore had managed the lobby bookshop since 1995.

The address of the Seminary Co-Op Bookstore is 5751 South Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60637. The phone number is (773) 752-4381.

The address of 57th Street Books is 1301 57th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60637. The phone number is (733) 684-1300.

Family-owned-and-operated since 1982, Sandmeyer’s Bookstore is on Dearborn Street between Polk and Harrison in Printer’s Row in the South Loop. The address is 714 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, Illinois 60605. The phone number is (312) 922-2104.

Owner Ed Devereux opened Unabridged Bookstore on November 1, 1980 (All Saints Day) at its present location in Lakeview on the North Side. The address is 3251 North Broadway Street, Chicago, Illinois 60657. The phone number is (773) 883-9119.

Open Books, Ltd. a non-profit organization, operates the Open Books River North Bookstore, located at 213 West Institute Place, to fund literacy campaigns. The address is 213 West Institute Place, Chicago, Illinois 60610.

This places it in River North on the North Side, but still within the downtown area. The phone number there is (312) 475-1355.

Owner Theresa Kirschbraun opened City Lit August 16, 2012. The address is 2523 North Kedzie Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60647.

This places it in Logan Square on the North Side. The phone number there is (773) 235-2523.

Powell’s Bookstores Chicago had to close its Lakeview shop, but continues to operate two in Hyde Park and University Village. The address of Powell’s Bookstore in Hyde Park is 1501 East 57th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60637. The phone number is (773) 955-7780.

The address of Powell’s Bookstore in University Village is 1218 South Halsted, Chicago, Illinois 60607. This is on the Near West Side. The phone number is (312) 243-9070.

Women & Children First has moved twice since it first opened in 1979. It is now located in Andersonville on the North Side. The owners write, “Over the years we've moved twice and are now in a northside Chicago neighborhood known for its diversity, queer-friendliness, women-owned businesses and community spirit. Our staffers include teachers, graduate students, professional writers and storytellers, political activists, board members, and poets. Each of us is a reader, a feminist, and a bookseller. Our purpose in beginning the store 33 years ago was to promote the work of women writers and to create a place in which all women would find books reflecting their lives and interests. We strive to do this in an atmosphere in which all are respected, valued, and well-served. That is our purpose still, online as well as in the store.”

We are one of the largest feminist bookstores in the country, stocking more than 30,000 books by and about women, children's books for all ages, and the best of lesbian and gay fiction and non-fiction. Anything we don't have in stock we can usually get in a few days' time, even if it's a title outside our specialty. We also carry cards, magazines, blank books and journals, calendars, CDs, gift items like candles, and pride products.

The address is 5233 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60640. The phone number there is (773) 769-9299.


Founded in 1963, Barbara’s Bookstore operates three bookshops downtown and six at O’Hare International Airport. Barbara’s Bookstore at Macey’s is in the Marketplace in the Lower Level of the historic Marshall Field & Company Building. This places it in the Loop.

The address is 111 North State Street, Chicago, Illinois 60602. The phone number there is (312) 781-3033.

Barbara’s Bestsellers in Sears (Willis) Tower is located in Wills Tower, Lower Level 1, 233 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60606. The phone number is (312) 466-0223.

Barbara’s Bookstore at Northwestern Memorial Hospital is located at the first floor of the Galter Pavilion of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. This places it in Streeterville, east of the Magnificent Mile of Michigan Avenue.
The address is 201 East Huron, Chicago, Illinois 60611. The phone number is (312) 926-2665.

Barbara’s Bestsellers in O’Hare International Airport has six locations: terminal 1 Gate B10, Terminal 1 Gate C18, Terminal 2 Gate E4, Terminal 3 Gate H1, Terminal 3 Gate G1, and Terminal 3 HK Apex. The phone number is (773) 686-1281.

[1] The Co-Op will be closed on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 for inventory. 57th Street Books will be closed Thursday, July 3, 2014 for inventory. Both shops will be closed on Friday, July 4, 2014 in observance of Independence Day.

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