The Newberry Library Book Fair

I’ve got nothing against eReaders. Encouraging people to read more is the goal, and I am all for whatever device accomplishes that. Friends of mine swear by their Kindles and maybe one day I will too, but for me there is something about the magic of ink, and paper, and binding. There’s a thrill in wandering through ceiling-high stacks, seeing books arranged on my shelves at home, and especially lending them to share with friends.

The Newberry Library Book Fair is an excellent opportunity to scour the stacks for gems to fill your shelves.  Exploring the 120,000 used volumes on sale is akin to treasure hunting, and with 70 categories there is surely something for everyone just waiting to be found. Newbery’s annual book fair kicks off today at noon, and will run July 28-29 from 12pm – 8pm and July 30-31 from 10am – 6pm. Admission to the book fair is FREE.

If you’ve not visited the Newberry Library, this is a wonderful excuse to check out the unique Chicago landmark. Established in 1887, the research library specializes in humanities and social sciences of Western civilization. While the Newberry is a private, non-circulating collection, it is always free and open to the public. The library holds over 1.5 million books and historic documents, including a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio.

At last year’s Newberry Library Book Fair, I managed to fill my arms with more books than I could carry in the first twenty minutes, including an author-signed biography of Virginia Woolf, visual history of fashion, a collection of poetry by Yeats, and a literary history of Chicago. Let me know what prizes you find and happy hunting!

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