April 19 – April 26, 2007 Edition


Libraries Get

More Creative

4/26/07-­At a time when smaller bookstores are collapsing and libraries are questioning their role in American communities, some innovative ideas are emerging.

Barbara’s Book Store is one company that is forming some unusual alliances. Barbara’s has established bookstores in several Macy’s Department stores and even in a hospital. Now, they will open five stores inside Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, all with the help of several unlikely partners–the Hudson Group, a travel retailer operating 25 newsstands inside O’Hare, Hartman Group Publishing, which publishes Chicago weekly newspaper N’Digo, and Blue Daring Consulting, a PR and retail consulting firm. Barbara’s has negotiated a seven year joint-venture that draws on the strengths of each partner to help the other. For example, the Hudson Group, established at O’Hare since late 2003, is already an expert in airport operations, and will give Barbara’s a strategic leg up in building and opening the stores.

Construction is expected to get underway soon. Hudson Group has formed similar partnerships with other booksellers including two Latino stores in California.

But booksellers aren’t the only literary entities getting creative. Libraries, too, are responding to changing consumer tastes. The first new library to open in Baltimore, Md. in more than three decades has the look and feel of a contemporary super bookstore, complete with computer lab, self-checkout, drive-through window, a café, and a collection of 80,000 books. The $11 million Enoch Pratt Southeast Anchor Library is scheduled to open May 14, and will embrace 27,000 square feet.