Open Books — a great nonprofit advocating literacy — recently opened a bookstore at 213 West Institute Place, blocks away from the Chicago Brown Line El stop. The store sells used books and profits go toward its educational programs, including writing workshops for adults and teenagers. According to Open Books, 53 percent of adults in Chicago have low or limited literacy skills. That’s startling considering that literacy is the key to education and improvement in one’s life. I am hoping to volunteer with this organization starting this winter so I hope to write about my experiences more on this blog.
I visited the new bookstore for the first time Sunday evening and enjoyed the colorful interior. I snapped some photos along the way and also listened to the end of a poetry panel featuring local poet and author Kathleen Rooney, whose book Live Nude Girl: My Life as an Object, I’ve been meaning to read. Rooney spoke of society’s absurd need to place a monetary value on everything. A monetary value should never be placed on something like poetry, she argued, and that’s part of its beauty.