The End of Women and Children First???

I read in Windy City Times today, in a feature about my favorite bookstore, Women and Children First, that it may close. In the thirteenth paragraph, the writer said, "Things have gotten so bad at WCF that both confirm the store must now plan month-to-month, not long-term. And the possibility that WCF might close before the end of the summer is very real, they confirmed." Talk about burying the lede. [It's really W&CF, but this blog does not allow me to use ampersands.]

I encourage all of you to order something from the store or if you're in Chicago, to physically go there, 5233 N. Clark. I think it's the largest feminist bookstore in the country. It's not as cheap as buying used books at Amazon, but it's a cultural institution.

I went there for the first time when it was still on Armitage (and I mean Armitage, not Halsted south of Armitage), down the street from the Guild Bookstore. Then Guild moved to Lincoln Avenue above Fullerton and WCF moved to Halsted. In 1990, to prepare for leaving Chicago for a year, I helped the store pack up books for its move to Andersonville. The store helped *make* Andersonville the cool, happ'nin' neighborhood that it is. I don't know how many times I've read there. Even before I had a book or had work in an anthology, I read at WCF with groups, including the defunct Feminist Writers Guild. (Took me a moment to dredge up the name. I grow old ... I grow old.) The first reading there I ever went to was by members of the Feminist Writers Guild, way back in the late 70s. Back there, there was also the Jane Addams feminist bookstore downtown.

You could argue that there's no more need for feminist bookstores. But you would be wrong.

The Guild died many years ago. The space was a coffee house and is now a nail salon.

1 comment:

Garry Cooper said...

Well, that sucks. Women & Children First is a great community place. One of the few feminist places where I've always felt completely welcomed. Borders and Barnes and Noble continue to do for bookstores what Wal-Mart does for every other small business. We'll all complicit, I'm afraid.