If You Weren't Looking For It: The Seminary Co-op Bookstore

Available for Special Order
If You Weren't Looking For It: The Seminary Co-op Bookstore

A fully illustrated look at the past and future of the beloved Hyde Park bookstore.

The Seminary Co-op Bookstore’s 2012 move from its historic location in the basement of the Chicago Theological Seminary to its new home above ground on Woodlawn Avenue provided the occasion for full visual documentation of both spaces and thoughtful reminiscences from customers past and present, now available for the first time as a book. Photographs detailing the idiosyncratic (and, for many, much loved) terrain of the underground store, from its artful integration of pipes and other building fixtures into the shelving to the winding tunnels of tables and cases, are shown alongside architectural plans for the new space, as well as scenes of its triumphant reopening. Essays by Co-op members are interwoven with the photos, with contributions from such luminaries as novelist Aleksandar Hemon, philosopher Jonathan Lear, legal scholar Cass Sunstein, acclaimed children’s author Blue Balliett, and many more, plus an Introduction and Afterword provided by longtime General Manager Jack Cella and current Director Jeff Deutsch respectively. Simultaneously a celebration of the unique charms and storied history of the Co-op and an homage to independent bookstores and passionate readers more generally, If You Weren’t Looking For It is a beautiful testament to the value of places like this in the shrinking public sphere.

Publication Date: 
January 1, 1900