TTT – Bookstores or Libraries I’ve Always Wanted to Visit

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week’s topic is Bookstores or Libraries I’ve Always Wanted to Visit. She has a link-up on her page where you can visit everyone participating this week! I’m going to try to focus on bookstores and libraries that I could realistically visit.

So first on my list is probably The Library of Congress. Despite living in Maryland for six years now, I still have not made it there. I’ve been to several other tourist attractions in DC, but just haven’t managed this one. I should probably plan an excursion to go do so! Maybe sometime this winter, when it’s not tourist season.

baldwin book barnMy husband and I are spending Thanksgiving Weekend in Philadelphia this year, as there’s a concert Friday night we have tickets to, and I’ve never been to Philly. I think I’ll try to convince him we should stop off at the Baldwin Book Barn on the way home, because it looks amazing.

Another local bookstore I haven’t made it to yet is Red Emma’s Bookstore and Coffeehouse. They’re a local co-op specializing in radical literature, so they have a lot of books on civil rights, socialism, feminism, racism, class structure and the like. The cafe serves vegetarian and vegan responsibly sourced food. They’re one of the sponsors of the Baltimore Book Festival every year, and their stage is always full of important topics around racism and civil rights.

Speaking of sponsors of the Book Festival, The Ivy Bookshop is another store in Baltimore. They’re the main sponsor of the Book Festival, and had satellite tables at every stage selling the books of the authors presenting at each stage. They have an event calendar with lots of author events, so I’ll be keeping an eye on that to see if anything relevant to my interests pops up. I’ve never been to their actual shop. They actually have an event Halloween evening with two authors I met at the Book Festival, and one of them is Sam Miller. I wanted to buy Blackfish City and get it autographed at the Festival, but they were sold out by the time I went to get it. Sam said he’d sign a copy for me someday, so this might be my chance!

braddock libraryThe Braddock Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh was the first Carnegie library in the United States, and the building looks amazing. I actually visit Pittsburgh once a year, but Sunday would be the only day available to visit the library, and it’s closed on Sundays. Finding time during the rest of the weekend would be exceedingly difficult, sadly. It doesn’t surprise me that the building is beautiful, though, since the entire town of Pittsburgh is awesome.

My husband and I have talked a lot about visiting Toronto, and I’ve just discovered Bakka Phoenix Books, in Toronto, which specializes in science fiction and fantasy. That would definitely be one of our destinations!

Middle East Books and More is a bookstore in DC specializing in, obviously, Middle Eastern books. They also have pottery, food, oils, toys, DVDs, and other things related to the Middle East. They look fascinating!

I’m going to cheat on these last three and list places I’ve already BEEN but want to go to again.

First, a place I definitely WILL go to again, probably multiple times. The Book Thing of Baltimore is three large rooms full of free books. Donated books are put out on the shelves as fast as they can process them and make room on the shelves, which are always pretty full! There’s a pile of boxes in a corner for people to put their finds in, presumably from the stacks of boxes of donated books in their backroom. The place is only open on weekends, because it’s run by all volunteer labor. It’s amazing, and I always leave with a full box of books. The Book Thing was actually destroyed by a fire a few years ago, but it’s back up and running now, and one of my favorite places in Baltimore.

The last two are both back home in Oregon, one in Portland and one in my hometown of Eugene.

In Portland, of course, is Powell’s. Powell’s is the largest independent bookstore, taking up an entire city block, and has at least three floors of books. It really is an experience.

smith family booksLess well-known is Smith Family Books in Eugene. The location I usually went to was on the second floor of a building down by campus, across a hall from my friendly local game store, Emerald City Comics. Smith Family Books was two floors of mostly used books, with a few new ones mixed in. Shelves double-stacked with novels, stacks on the floor, corners over-running with books – Smith Family Books was one of my favorite places to idle away an afternoon. They have a second location that I’ve also been to, but the one down by campus was my favorite.

I can’t wait to see where everyone else wants to go! Have you been to any of these locations?





8 thoughts on “TTT – Bookstores or Libraries I’ve Always Wanted to Visit

  1. I’ve never been to The Library of Congress either!
    You’ve mentioned some of my favorite places here. I actually did a post about favorite local bookstores and I think three of these are on there, lol. Baldwin’s is a neat place!

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