In their own voices

Amy Repp & Matthew Christian

Amy Repp & Matthew Christian


Duration: 35:14 · Filesize: 40.32 MB

Even if everything on earth was available electronically, which it is not, how do you get introduced to that book, that chance encounter with a really interesting book?

Amy Repp and Matthew Christian both worked at Co-op: Amy from 1993 to 2006, Matthew from 1998 to 2006. Matthew is now Associate Provost and Chief of Staff at the University of Chicago.

Marc Geelhoed

Marc Geelhoed


Duration: 26:18 · Filesize: 15.05 MB

You can just go down these rabbit holes and end up finding things that are gonna end up making your life a whole lot better.

Marc Geelhoed is Resound Coordinator at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

David Pellauer

David Pellauer


Duration: 18:38 · Filesize: 10.67 MB

I think it’s a shock for people who have never seen a store like this and they need to do it.

David Pellauer studied in the Divinity school in the 60's and was on the Co-op's Board of Directors during that time. His translations of the works of Paul Ricoeur are on sale at the bookstore.

Katy O’Brien Weintraub

Katy O’Brien Weintraub


Duration: 15:48 · Filesize: 18.09 MB

Over the years we broke down walls, we took pieces of walls apart, we expanded at every opportunity and every time we got a chance, we’d try to take over more and more of the building.

Katy O’Brien Weintraub (AB'75, AM'76, PhD'87) is Co-op Assistant Manager and has been an employee since 1975. She also lectures the History of Western Civilization in the College.

Montroy Hunter II

Montroy Hunter II


Duration: 17:29 · Filesize: 10 MB

You get the sense that someone wants to put as much goodness in the spot as they possibly can.

Montroy Hunter II is Personal Computing Support Analyst at Chicago Booth.

Rui Carlos Da Cunha

Rui Carlos Da Cunha


Duration: 18:36 · Filesize: 10.64 MB

I was astounded by the selection, spent hours looking at stuff, and then I just asked them if they needed any help and they handed me an application and I filled it out.  I went home, and by the time I got home I already had a phone call for an interview.  I came in, got the job.

Rui has been working at the Co-op since February 2003 as Receiving Manager until 2013 and then as Events Coordinator 2013-2014.

Randall Steger

Randall Steger


Duration: 8:25 · Filesize: 4.82 MB

If I have a bad day or a bad week, I can come down here and I can fix it.

Randall Steger has been a Co-op customer for over 20 years.

Ian Desai

Ian Desai


Duration: 13:20 · Filesize: 7.63 MB

This is the Grand Central of a great global book community, and that experience, being part of that fact of something like that being in the world, I think we want that to exist in the future, and if it doesn’t, they should listen to these tapes and find a way to resurrect it, bring it back.  That’s almost like a challenge to the future to keep it going.

Ian Desai (AB'04) is Lecturer in the Humanities Division.

David Derbes

David Derbes


Duration: 9:23 · Filesize: 5.37 MB

This is the best bookstore in the English-speaking world, or at least that part of it I’ve seen, which is most of it.

David is a physics teacher at the Laboratory School.

Bruce Miller

Bruce Miller


Duration: 11:12 · Filesize: 6.41 MB

I think there is a sort of democratic aspect to it in the sense that you can come in here and learn about things that you don’t have to have an expensive education to know about or to study.  You can just come in and find it, as long as you can read.  You can really educate yourself in a place like this.

Bruce is a sales rep for 25 university presses.

Ben Fink

Ben Fink


Duration: · Filesize: 7.72 MB

Being in here gives me a context. It makes me realize that I’m not alone in my obsessive intellectual pursuits.

Ben Fink (AB’06.)

Barbara Friedell & Marion Covey


Duration: 3:38 · Filesize: 2.08 MB

I’ll miss this tortuous and twisted space because I think it has a lot of character…But I’m curious to see the new space.

Barbara and Marion met in the 1980’s in class in The Art History of India.

Sujata Rajpurohit

Sujata Rajpurohit


Duration: 8:25 · Filesize: 7.71 MB

If you love literature, love books, and love knowledge in any way, this is some place that you should see.

Sujata Rajpurohit (AB'13).

Kevin Byrnes

Kevin Byrnes


Duration: 5:21 · Filesize: 3.06 MB

It’s a real academic bookstore.

Kevin was a graduate student in music in the late 70's.

Cynthia Blair, Barry Breitung, & Ava

Cynthia Blair, Barry Breitung, & Ava


Duration: 7:05 · Filesize: 4.05 MB

I actually created the Eastern European section.

Barry worked at the SemCoop 1989/90-94.

Steve & Carla Berry


Duration: 6:57 · Filesize: 3.98 MB

It covers a broad part of our lives.

Steve is James Franck Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, Department of Chemistry.

Eve Ewing

Eve Ewing


Duration: 20:32 · Filesize: 9.4 MB

When you’re 17, this seems like a place that you always hoped would exist but never encountered before. That’s unforgettable.

Eve Ewing (AB'08).

Tina Ya-Ting Yang

Tina Ya-Ting Yang


Duration: 4:46 · Filesize: 2.73 MB

I can’t imagine my UChicago life without the Seminary Co-op Bookstore.

Tina Ya-Ting Yang (AM’12).

David Sgarlata

David Sgarlata


Duration: 5:57 · Filesize: 3.41 MB

Just walking around browsing the shelves is going to broaden my perspective on things and give me ideas that I would not get by looking for a specific book on a website.

David Sgarlata has been going to the Co-op for about 25 years.

Cass Sunstein

Cass Sunstein


Duration: 4:04 · Filesize: 2.33 MB

When days were tough, or things weren’t going so well, this would be like a port in a storm.

Cass Sunstein was a faculty member at the University of Chicago Law School from 1981 to 2008.

Jennie Ikuta

Jennie Ikuta


Duration: 13:43 · Filesize: 31.39 MB

I think I now look at bookstores differently, too.  I always judge it, ‘Is this as good as the Seminary Co-op?’  And the answer is always no.

Jennie Ikuta (AB'07), once a part-time employee at the Co-op, is now a PhD student in political theory at Brown.

Joan Novick

Joan Novick


Duration: 5:14 · Filesize: 3 MB

I salute progress and I mourn the past.

Joan Novick (wife of Peter Novick, Co-op board member 1999-2012) says that her two favorite words are 'books' and 'coffee' and therefore looks forward to the Co-op’s new location, which will be just across the lobby from a cafe.

Tina Yang

Tina Yang


Duration: 7:03 · Filesize: 4.04 MB

There’s quite a few books that you can’t find elsewhere. It’s not a normal bookstore.

Tina Yang (AB’06, MBA’12).

Harry Gao

Harry Gao


Duration: 8:26 · Filesize: 4.83 MB

There is something that is profoundly moving about a bookstore that is actually just purely books…many shelves with nothing but books, wall to wall, floor to ceiling.  It’s an experience I hope everybody gets to experience.

College first-year Harry Gao thinks that the Co-op is the best bookstore he’s ever been in

Suzanne Adatto

Suzanne Adatto


Duration: 5:41 · Filesize: 3.26 MB

You can find almost anything that you’re looking for or not looking for.

Suzanne Adatto (AB’10).

Brittani Baxter

Brittani Baxter


Duration: 1:39 · Filesize: 967 KB

I really like the labyrinth feel of the bookstore, how it’s underground and very cozy, and kind of like a cave full of books.

Brittani Baxter (AB’10).

Michael McNicholas

Michael McNicholas


Duration: 1:36 · Filesize: 936 KB

This space is one of a kind and of course the bookstore itself is one of a kind so it deserves all of us honoring it in this space during its last days.

Michael McNicholas, Senior Survey Director in the National Opinion Research Center's Education and Child Development department, talked to us during our first Project Open House on June 1, 2012.

Jack Ringel

Jack Ringel


Duration: 3:56 · Filesize: 2.25 MB

I’m a pretty big self-described nerd so I was just like in heaven when I saw this place.

Jack Ringel. 2nd year masters student in the School of Social Administration in clinical social work.

Nora Friedman

Nora Friedman


Duration: 12:02 · Filesize: 6.89 MB

It’s useful to touch books, to see what the text says.  ...if you want to have a book for pure pleasure, pure enjoyment, pure let’s-see-what-looks-interesting-to-me-today, you gotta browse.

Nora Friedman (AB’04).

Jesse Jackson

Jesse Jackson


Duration: 2:53 · Filesize: 6.61 MB

This is the place to be if you want books.

Rev. Jesse Jackson returns to the Co-op for one last visit before the move. Jackson was once a student at the Chicago Theological Seminary.

CMAC small group

CMAC small group


Duration: 1:10 · Filesize: 1.07 MB

A subset of Chicago Men's A Cappella visiting the Co-op during Alumni Weekend in June 2012 sings the alma mater in the Funk Cloisters of the 5757 S. University building.

Members include: Dylan Murphy (Tenor I, AB'10), Alex Meyer (Baritone, AB'10), Luke Rodehorst (Baritone, AB'09), Sam Martin (Bass, AB'09), and Josh Sauerman (Bass II, AB'09).

Eric Shutt

Eric Shutt


Duration: 8:08 · Filesize: 15.03 MB

Books can be both very enticing and a little bit accusing.

Hyde Parker and Buddhist priest Eric Shutt has been coming to the Co-op for over 20 years.

Michael Hefter

Michael Hefter


Duration: 10:36 · Filesize: 19.76 MB

For me this is one of the few places you can go for serious books. There’s not a lot of places that still do that. Anywhere.

Michael Hefter has been a Co-op member for a good 30 years.

Susie Allen

Susie Allen


Duration: 5:17 · Filesize: 9.87 MB

There’s just something about stumbling around and finding yourself in these small corners and quiet spaces. You find these little nooks and crannies that surprise you in some way.

Hyde Parker and former U of C undergrad Susie Allen now works at the University News Office—and, good for the Co-op—reads as much as she writes!

Jacob Swenson

Jacob Swenson


Duration: 6:55 · Filesize: 12.88 MB

[The Seminary Co-op] is sort of the adult equivalent of a candy shop.

Jacob Swenson is a 5th year PhD student in the philosophy department at the University of Chicago.

Patricia Sayre McCoy

Patricia Sayre McCoy


Duration: 11:44 · Filesize: 21.85 MB

I’d heard about the store before. It’s kinda famous! There’s always something here. It’s like the magic bookstore.

Patricia Sayre McCoy, who works at the University's Law School library, joined the Co-op about 25 years ago.

Aleem and Kyle Hossain

Aleem and Kyle Hossain


Duration: 23:43 · Filesize: 43.93 MB

I think this is one of my favorite places in the world. Full stop.

The first time when I visited my brother at the U of C I was 15, and I remember him taking me here, and me encountering for the first time a real relic of academia from something I would imagine - because I wasn’t in college yet. This really embodied to me what it means to be in the center of academia.

Aleem Hossain (AB'00) and his brother Kyle visited their beloved Co-op while in town for a wedding.

Cece Yu and Justin Aschenbener

Cece Yu and Justin Aschenbener


Duration: 6:46 · Filesize: 12.55 MB

It’s a monument to the things that the University of Chicago stands for.

A bookstore is like a physical manifestation of the cross-pollination that happens when different disciplines work alongside each other.

Cece Yu and Justin Aschenbener graduated from the College in 2011.

John Modschiedler

John Modschiedler


Duration: 1:52 · Filesize: 3.47 MB

I knew about bookstores, so therefore, if I may say so, I was automatically a good employee!

John Modschiedler, former Co-op employee from 1965-1970, managed the Co-op until he turned the reigns over to its current and long-time manager, Jack Cella, in 1970.

Jack Spicer

Jack Spicer


Duration: 3:12 · Filesize: 5.94 MB

It so absolutely unmodern. It’s like Louis Sullivan’s architecture. It’s beautiful. The functionality is the beauty. This is a beautiful bookstore. This place is about books.

Jack Spicer, long-time Co-op customer and current board member.