Best Of Chicago

Most Community-Centered Bookstores In Chicago

May 20, 2013 7:00 AM

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(Credit: Women and Children First's facebook)

(Credit: Women and Children First’s facebook)

For many bibliophiles, independent bookstores offer much more than the latest bestsellers and magazines. From author visits to story time, independent bookstores in the Chicago area offer a way for the community to come together and celebrate reading. The events are also a great way to meet new people with shared interests. Check out the following community-centered independent bookstores in the Chicago area to find one near you.

The Magic Tree Bookstore
141 N. Oak Park Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60301
(708) 848-0770
www.magictreebooks.com

Children can also experience fun literary events through The Magic Tree Bookstore. Located near downtown Oak Park, the store’s events include story time every Wednesday at 11 a.m. and special craft times during the week. The Magic Tree also brings events to schools and parks, including book fairs that feature children’s books from both mainstream and smaller publishers. While The Magic Tree might have children’s books, it also has events for adults. The store hosts a monthly book club for adults who read young adult literature, and it is held every second Thursday of the month; the next meeting is June 13 at 7 p.m.

(Credit: Women and Children First's facebook)

(Credit: Women and Children First’s facebook)

Women & Children First
5233 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-9299
www.womenandchildrenfirst.com

Located in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, Women & Children First is a mainstay of the community and is considered one of the largest feminist bookstores in the country. To broaden the horizons of readers in the community, the store regularly hosts feminist author readings and also showcases local writers. The LGBT-friendly store also features a considerable section on LGBT issues. It offers story time for children ages two to four every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., and a kids book group for eight to 12-year-olds that meets every second Sunday of the month at 5 p.m. Its book club for adults is Classics of Women’s Literature, which meets the first Tuesday of every month. Its purpose is to let women decide which titles should be deemed classics.

Anderson’s Bookshops
123 W. Jefferson Ave.
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 355-2665
www.andersonsbookshop.com

Want to join a book club? Anderson’s Bookshops has you covered. It hosts clubs for readers of all ages, including one specifically for mother-daughter book clubs and groups that focus exclusively on fiction or non-fiction works. The shop also helps readers foster and nurture the love of reading through its philanthropic programs. For example, its Books for Troops program lets shoppers donate new books distributed to those in combat, while the store’s Book Angels program helps shoppers donate books for area children in need. Anderson’s is an award-winning bookshop and has a second location in Downers Grove.

Related: Chicago’s Best Bookstores

(Credit: azizibooks.com)

(Credit: azizibooks.com)

Azizi Books
258 Lincoln Mall Drive
Matteson, IL 60443
(708) 283-9850
www.azizibooks.com

Azizi Books offers something for everyone in the community. The store, which is located in Lincoln Mall, hosts a children’s story time every Saturday at 11 a.m., and the event occasionally includes making a craft. Azizi Books also hosts author signings and readings, allowing readers to meet both up-and-coming writers and those who are already established. The bookstore also encourages the community to have book clubs meet in-store, and regularly hosts a men’s book club on the last Wednesday of every month. Azizi Books also showcases local authors, including Erin Goseer Mitchell, as well as writers from churches in the area.

Lake Forest Book Store
680 N. Western Ave.
Lake Forest, IL 60045
(847) 234-4420
www.lakeforestbookstore.com

If you’re looking for a community-focused bookstore in the north suburbs, look no further than Lake Forest Book Store. Located in Lake Forest’s Market Square, the Lake Forest Book Store is an integral part of the local community, having been established in 1949. It hosts monthly book clubs and also regularly features meet-and-greets with authors, and recently hosted local writer Jennifer E. Smith at its store. Lake Forest Book Store’s will host an author signing with Amy Sue Nathan, author of “The Glass Wives,” on June 14 at 7 p.m. The store also gives back to the community through the donations of books to local charities, further fostering the love of reading for others.

Related: Best Indie Bookshops In Chicago

Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I’m a Trader Joe’s Fan. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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