In today’s Chicago Trib Business section, Mugambi Mutegi reported on the closing of O’Gara & Wilson, a fine old Hyde Park institution that has served the local community as well as the University of Chicago faculty and students since the 1960s. Doug Wilson (who apprenticed with founder Joseph O’Gara and later became co-owner) and his staff are currently packing up 27,000 books into 900 brown paper shopping bags, filling each with 35 books in the same genre. His plan is to relocate to Chesterton, Indiana where he hopes to establish viable used book business, looking to the town’s May-October European Market as a stimulus. The article also reported on the general decline of smaller specialty book shops faced with the impact of eBooks, large bookstore chains, and Amazon.
Rebecca Janowitz is a lawyer, committed public servant, and the author of the fascinating new book Culture of Opportunity: Obama’s Chicago – The People, Politics, and Ideas of Hyde Park. Written from her informed perspective as a long-time community insider, her book is an engaging exploration of how Hyde Park’s unique blend of independent politics, social activism, and racial diversity has helped nurture the careers of such politicans as Barack Obama, Harold Washington, and Toni Preckwinkle. On Sunday, January 23rd, you can hear Ms. Janowitz read from Culture of Opportunity when she visits EPL’s 1st Floor Community Meeting Room at 3 p.m. In anticipation of her visit, we recently spoke with her via email about her life in Hyde Park, Chicago’s mayoral race, Hyde Park’s relationship with the University of Chicago, and the future challenges the neighborhood must face .
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