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If you’re feeling withdrawals after last week’s Printer’s Row Lit Fest, then I’ve got a cure for you. Whatever the hair of the dog equivalent is for a book hangover can be found at the 56th Chicago Book and Paper Fair hosted at the Journeyman Plumbers Union Hall in the West Loop. Update your library (come on, you have a library, don’t you?) with over fifty vendors offering all kinds of literary and pictorial wares for your browsing.


The event is sponsored by the Midwest Antiquarian Booksellers Association (MWABA), which was established in 1977 as a non-profit organization of booksellers with the mission of promoting rare books, maps, and other ephemera to the public. The fair promises a wide range of publications from illustrated works, literature, and Chicago history to leather bindings, vintage works, vinyl records, and whatever other items fall within the paper arts realm. In addition to all of the booths that will be set up, special events include paper marbling and bookbinding demonstrations, as well as a pop-up cafe serving sandwiches and other treats.

Local vendors such as Booklegger’s, Powell’s, and Oak Park’s Looking Glass Bookstore will be there, but this is a great opportunity to take advantage of sellers from all over the country, from Stone Mountain, Georgia to Minnetonka, Minnesota. A full list of vendors is on the MWABA website. MWABA also hosts a fest in Minneapolis-St. Paul later in the month.

The fair takes place this Saturday June 17th from 10AM – 5 PM. The Journeyman Plumbers Union Hall is located at 1340 W Washington Blvd and admission is $6 ($4 for students with ID), with tickets being sold starting at 9 AM on Saturday. While I normally like to encourage the use of public transit, there will be free parking which may be necessary for the dozens of rare tomes your sure to walk away with this weekend.

Rare books and paper goods find their way to the West Loop on Saturday Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP
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