Seminary Co-op deepens intellectual life

Historic bookstore finds new ways to build community

Members of the UChicago and Hyde Park community describe the special role of the Seminary Co-op Bookstore.

Photo by Robert Kozloff

The Seminary Co-op Bookstore has built a reputation as one of the best academic bookstores in the world, becoming a special place for the Hyde Park and UChicago communities. Since its founding in 1961 with 17 members, the Co-op has grown to more than 50,000 members—a group that has included writers and public figures such as Susan Sontag, Saul Bellow, Barack and Michelle Obama, Friedrich Hayek, and Harold Washington.

The last year has been especially eventful, beginning with the book parade that celebrated the flagship location's move to 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave., and culminating with the bookstore's May 11, 2013 grand opening. The renovated space in McGiffert House now allows the Co-op to host more book readings, workshops, and events with the Hyde Park community. In the accompanying video, we asked UChicago community members what makes the Co-op so unusual, as a place where students, faculty members, and Hyde Park residents come together to share their passion for literature and to discover great books.

Originally published on September 16, 2013.