CHICAGO — A popular Chicago bookstore reopened this month with a few changes.
Semicolon Books in River West is continuing to thrive even while giving out free books.
“We are known for our commitment to bridge the literacy gap among minoritized communities,” Danielle Mullen, the owner of the bookstore, said.
Mullen reopened the store at 515 North Halsted this week.
She purchased the building, renovated the space and became a non-profit.
“We have been doing a program called Clear the Shelves and we allow CPS students to come in and take the books they want free of charge,” Mullen said. “We have been doing that for about four years now and we finally got to the point where we’re doing the non-profit work anyways, we might as well become a non-profit,” Mullen said.
Now, the model allows Mullen to receive grants to help fund their programs.
As many bookstores have shuttered over the years, Semicolon has been able to grow and thrive.
“We made the 20 coolest bookstores in the world list and it’s amazing,” Mullen said. “There are traveling book buyers everywhere and we get them, we love them. Just yesterday, we had a couple in from London and some people from Canada who just came to meet us.”
With the new space and model, Semicolon hopes to put even more books into kids’ hands.
“We have our regular customers who come to us just because they love us and they usually buy a book for themselves and then buy a book for a student at the same time,” Mullen said.
The bookstore is open from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.