How To Preview a Book Fair | Newberry

How To Preview a Book Fair

So we really need to get into the nuts and bolts at some point. Some of you may be planning to attend the Book Fair Preview Night on Wednesday, July 26, and, for those of you who do, here are some simple instructions on how to get this Early Bird Benefit.

ONE: Are you an Associate or are you planning to BE an Associate of the Newberry Library? If yes, go to step 3. If not, go to step 2.

TWO: Then you can’t come Wednesday. Attend Thursday or Friday (noon to eight) or Saturday and Sunday (ten to six) or go back to step 1 and answer differently.

THREE: If you are not now an Associate at the $100 level or above, there is still time. Call the Newberry Library and ask for Alexandra Katich or Luke Herman or email them at or for details. (Yes, you CAN pay on the day, but why not save your time for bookhunting? Do it now.) If you are already an Associate at the proper giving level, you should have received a card saying “Bring this with you on July 26”. Don’t lose this, and skip along to step 4.

FOUR: Do you wish to come to the Preview in the first ten minutes? If so, proceed to Step 5; if not, mosey on to Step 8

FIVE: From 9 to 3 on Wednesday, July 26, a ticket awarding you your place in line will be handed out. Get a ticket and then go away. No, you may not do a little early browsing. No, not even if you’re just LOOKING. Um, and we’d appreciate it if you did not chalk off a part of the sidewalk and leave all your boxes and bags there while you run down to annoy them at Starbuck’s for seven hours. The number gets you just a place in line: we aren’t swapping away any real estate rights.

SIX: Between 3 and 4 P.M., July 26, the line will form outside the building. An enforcer will be walking along the line to make sure you have your proper placer in line AND to be sure you’re not blocking the sidewalk for those people who are getting along somehow without coming to the preview. Yes, that’s pathetic, but we need to be thoughtful even of those who are NOT Associates of the Newberry.

SEVEN: At 4 P.M. the doors will open. Walk, don’t run, up the stairs, nod to the greeters, get your map and perhaps a plastic bag, and move through the surging herd to the left or right, depending on whether you are looking for books in Polish (left) or copies of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (right). We do try to keep order, but it is strongly suggested that you do not make the mistake one of our regulars made years ago, and stoop to tie your shoe in the middle of the rush. (The man jumping over her NEARLY cleared her.) Shop kindly.

EIGHT: If you do not need to be part of that first ten minutes, arrive at the Newberry (bearing that card) around 4:10 or 4:15. There will be no waiting in line and no rushing upstairs. You can smile at the greeters, chat with the traffic director about where you’re most likely to find a signed Gutenberg Bible, and amble over to the shopping section of your choice.

Your only difficulty will be meeting the eyes of all those others, knowing they’re wondering, “What’s wrong with YOU?”

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