Running through Sunday, the 30th annual Newberry Book Fair is the place to be for any bibliophile. Here are some things to look forward to:
Lots of books
The Newberry Library says that during the fair 120,000 books are up for sale. Many of them are donated to the library specifically to be sold at the fair (proceeds go to the library). You can seemingly find just about anything!
Lots of cheap media
Most of the books sold at the book fair are less than $3. They also sell DVDs, CDs or for you vintage media consumers, cassettes and video tapes (RIP). The rules are you can buy all you can carry, so bring a nice big bag to fit all that stuff.
For you rare book collectors, or re-sellers, some of the books on sale are rare, and can go for hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Bughouse Square Debates
On Saturday, Washington Square Park will host the Bughouse Square debates, just as it did in the days of yore (or Studs). Soapboxes are set up around the park where a selection of speakers are given time to stand and give speeches on anything they want. A few other soapboxes are open to anyone who wants to get up and speak.
At 1 p. m., the Newberry will present the John Peter Altgeld award for free speech (named in honor of the Illinois Governor who pardoned the men charged for the Haymarket bombing) and the Dill Pickle award to the champion soapbox orator.
Once that’s over, they’ll proceed with the main debate. The main question this year is “Is Chicago broke? Solving the city’s budgetary woes.” The two presenters are Tom Tresser, activist and author, and John Nothdurft of the Heartland Institute. As usual, the moderator is newspaper legend and friend of Studs Terkel, Rick Kogan.
With all of these speakers, the library encourages audience participation – shouts of support or good-natured heckling.
The Newberry Library is at 60 w. Walton Street (near the Chicago or Division stops on the Red Line – the library encourages people to take public transportation). Washington Square Park is just outside. The Book Fair runs until Sunday at 6p.m.