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Introduction to Membership in the Co-op
Thank you for joining the Seminary Co-operative Bookstores.
We have been independent and member-owned since 1961. Founded by seventeen persons who wanted a bookstore that represented them, it has grown from a small basement bookstore into a labyrinth of books at two locations in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, now with over 53,000 members. For over 40 years, legendary bookseller Jack Cella managed the Seminary Co-op, establishing us as one of the finest bookstores in the world.
By becoming a member, you not only invest in a local, cooperatively owned business, but also join a rich and storied intellectual community. Over the years, our members have included authors, scholars, and public figures such as Barack and Michelle Obama, Saul Bellow, Friedrich Hayek, Paul Ricoeur, Susan Sontag, and Harold Washington, to name a few.
The Woodlawn Avenue store houses an extensive collection, with a focus on titles reflecting the academic strengths of the University of Chicago. The Seminary Co-op is committed to the principles of free and open inquiry and seeks to support the life of the mind by providing a world-class selection of works by the leading thinkers throughout history.
Two blocks away, at the corner of 57th Street and Kimbark Avenue, is the Co-op's second store, 57th Street Books. This store has served a general readership since 1983, and is closely fitted to the Hyde Park neighborhood and larger South Side community. 57th Street Books has an excellent selection of children's books, cookbooks, travel guides, mysteries, and science fiction.
Both stores believe in the power of the written word to inform, enlighten and delight readers of all ages. We maintain that bookstores play a critical role in any community by providing a space of enrichment and camaraderie, as well as allowing for the magic of the serendipitous browsing experience. There is, in other words, no substitute for being in the physical presence of books, even as the web has changed the way they are published, distributed, and even read. At our stores, an experienced and knowledgeable staff continues to give careful thought to which books to stock and highlight. Members are now spread throughout the country and the world, and many continue to be in touch with the Co-op through email and our website to order books. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
Co-op members who spend at least $100 accrue points equivalent to a 10% purchase credit that can be used toward future purchase in the stores or online. These points accumulate over the course of the fiscal year running from July 1st through June 30th, and may be redeemed any time within the following fiscal year.
Welcome to our community and thank you for supporting the Seminary Co-op Bookstores.