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Chicago’s own Read/Write Library in the NYT!
The Read/Write Library — formerly known as the Chicago Underground Library — has had many homes (six, actually!) over the years. Last Friday, the Chicago-focused archive of indie and small press publications moved into some nice new digs in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. The NYT was there to check out the scene:
Volunteers pored over books littered across a long table perched on the compact library’s stage, a reminder of the building’s past life as a neighborhood bar. The genteel, yellowing pages of “Favorite Recipes of the Woman’s Club of the People’s Church” lay alongside “The Bowel Movement,” a literary pamphlet glued together by Clinton-era University of Chicago students.
The collection began when Ms. Taylor, looking for a post-college project, asked her friends to donate local books, which piled up in her apartment. She said Read/Write was the nation’s only grass-roots-oriented library to house printed works from an entire city.
In Chicago, said Ellen Placey Wadey, an adjunct literature professor at Columbia College, “we tend to stay in our own neighborhoods with our own kinds of people.” But Read/Write “is crossing all those boundaries,” she said. “It’s kind of blowing the parameters of the canon away.”