November 20, 2012

Don’t rain on the book parade

The Seminary Co-Op Bookstore held a parade Monday morning to commemorate the transfer of the last few books to its new location. Attendees also got a sneak preview of the larger, above-ground store, set to open on Wednesday.

Students, faculty, community members, and Co-Op staff, led by a bagpipe procession, carried the books from the entrance of the old store at East 58th Street and South University Avenue to its new home one block east on South Woodlawn Avenue. In addition, faculty authors, including Professor of American and African American History Thomas Holt; Professor of Anthropology, Linguistics, and Psychology Michael Silverstein; Professor of English and Comparative Literature David Bevington; and Dean of the College John Boyer, each carried one of their own books during the parade.

Co-Op Manager Jack Cella introduced the faculty authors in a short ceremony after the parade. They placed their books on the Co-Op’s signature Front Table, which has welcomed customers at the entrance of the store for over 30 years and displays books by noted faculty and new academic releases handpicked by Cella.

Also in attendance was architect Stanley Tigerman of Tigerman McCurry Architects, the firm that designed the new store.

“Working with him has been a real pleasure, and I think you’ll see his handiwork when you walk inside,” Cella said.

After the parade and brief ceremony outside the McGiffert House, the first floor and basement of which will house the Co-Op, everyone was invited inside to see the store’s layout.

Cella hoped that despite the new location and larger space, Co-Op customers would continue to feel at home.

“It’s still a work in progress, but we really think that it reflects the sense of discovery that Co-Op lovers and book people have come to appreciate so much,” Cella said.

Co-Op patrons and parade attendees seemed to agree, noting that the space of the new store is an improvement over the layout of the old one but retains the Co-Op’s unique facets.

“It combines the whimsical of the old [location] with the modern-ness of the new space,” said third-year Lexie Goldberger.

“You can actually see things. Like I saw comic books, which I didn’t know they had. You can stand up without hitting your head,” said third-year Abby Pershing.

Professor of Political Science Mark Hansen, a member of the Sem Co-Op’s board, hopes that the move will provide an opportunity to promote the Co-Op’s primary focus on academic works.

“I hope we can take advantage of the opening to publicize the store and renew the idea of a bookstore with books for intelligent people written by intelligent people,” he said.

The Co-Op has been closed for the move since November 12. The new store will open its doors to customers on Wednesday and an official opening ceremony is planned for sometime in January.

In the meantime, its sister bookstore, 57th Street Books, has served Co-Op customers and those who need books from the Co-op could request for them to be sent to 57th Street Books for pickup.