Sunday, May 7, 2017

Jane Addams Book Shop - Champaign, IL

Jane Addams Book Shop, Champaign, IL
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When people find out about my journey to visit bookstores one of the frequent questions I get is, what is your favorite?  People, I've visited over 250 independent bookstores to this point, how could I possibly name a favorite?  I've really never visited a bookstore that I haven't enjoyed on some level.  So, while I cannot name a favorite, I can name ones that are memorable, fun, cared for by nice people, and are perfectly pleasant experiences.  That was the feeling at Jane Addams Book Shop and the experience I would expect anyone to have who visits this wonderful used bookstore in Champaign, IL.

The original owner of Jane Addams opened the store as a feminist bookstore in Chicago on Michigan Ave.  But for the past 30+ years it has been a presence in a historical building in downtown Champaign.  The current owners, Don and Susan E., have been here for 7 years and the business is going reasonably well.  The store offers all used books, antiquarian books, and signed 1st editions.  Customers receive store credit for the books they bring in and the owners also acquire books from estate sales as well as books that are simply donated.  There are a few sidelines here including greeting cards and journals.  Susan told me that's something they're still getting a feel for.  You can also support Jane Addams Books by making your purchase from their website and they're always striving to improve this.  The store has a great 3-level space (two floors and a mezzanine between the two).  I strongly encourage you to go upstairs and browse the 2nd floor.  Lots of character, lots of nooks, crannies and small rooms to explore.  There are also several places you can sit down and try out books.  Many used bookstores don't input their inventory into a data base.  Jane Addams has their stock inventoried which is something I appreciate when looking for specific books.

Susan and Judy, her daughter-in-law, were at the store on the day of my visit and were terrific to visit with.  I'm always appreciative of the time I get to spend with these fine people I meet at independent bookstores.  If you drive here, be patient looking for parking.  You'll find a place to park and then your patience will be rewarded when you discover what I did.  A fantastic bookstore with a seemingly endless inventory.  You're going to have a great time exploring and meeting the remarkable people who work here.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Gateway To Freedom, Eric Foner.  Very informative and educational book about the history of the underground railroad, particularly as it relates to its roots and the importance of New York City.  Extremely well researched and documented but it took some real concentration as it was quite academic/scholarly.  

CURRENTLY READING:  The Poet Of Tolstoy Park, Sonny Brewer.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Tim, Colleen McCullough.  Freddy Goes To Florida, Walter Brooks.

Yes, this bookstore occupies all the floors in this building.  View looking up the building outside the front entrance.  

A large front window display.  

View looking into the bookstore from the front entrance.  Lots of great light in this store.  Persnickety readers obviously recognize the back of the head of this celebrity rushing into the store.  Yes, that's my mom.  

View looking to the left from the front entrance.  

A nice selection of greeting cards available near the front entrance.  

The check-out counter creatively decorated with book covers.  

A few of the books of local and regional interest.  

A variety of sidelines at this table just to the right after entering the store.  

A few of the signed and/or first editions at this display.   

ALWAYS ask about gift cards at any independent bookstore.  

One of the book aisles of children's books.  

One of the many long aisles of books.

This bookstore's roots are in Chicago as a feminist bookstore.  

Overview of the store looking out from the mezzanine level in the back of the store toward the front entrance.  

A great place to sit on the mezzanine level.  

Overview of the mezzanine level.  

A portion of the main room on the 2nd level, above the mezzanine.  

Small rooms with nooks and crannies are everywhere, like this one.  

In the back of a small nook or room, you might find a great place to just sit and sample a book.  

One of the unique rooms on the 2nd level.  

A very rough overview of the 2nd level.  

Upstairs on the 2nd level you'll find lots of piano sheet music.  

Yet another room upstairs and a great place to try a book.  

With Susan on the left and Judy on the right, two of the fine folks you'll meet at Jane Addams Book Shop.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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