About a quarter of my early adolescent childhood was spent in the library. Whether it was checking out carts full of books, attending read-alouds, or making arts and crafts, the Naperville Public Libraries were a large presence in my formative years.
I’m not at all complaining, since library visits gave me a healthy appreciation for physical media, an art that many people feel is dying. In an age where a library’s worth of information can be stored on a single device, the value of physical books seemingly has dwindled. That’s why I was absolutely blown away by the response to the closing of the Naperville branch of Barnes & Noble Booksellers.
In December, Barnes & Noble announced that they would be closing their downtown Naperville branch on January 21 and relocating to Oswego. Barnes & Noble has been in downtown Naperville for decades, so some reaction was to be expected.
What I wasn’t expecting was a veritable flood of people packing the store. I visited Barnes & Noble shortly after their announcement and was shocked by the sheer number of people present.
I originally had several books I was planning to buy, but upon looking at the checkout line, I threw in the towel. The store employee marking the end of the line told me that the wait time for the line was four hours. I could see why, since the line to check out snaked through every aisle on the first floor of the store.
I’ve always found value in being able to hold a book I love with my own two hands. It’s comforting that Naperville feels the same way. The Barnes & Noble which has been a cornerstone of downtown for so long will be missed, but the memories created and given there will never be forgotten.