In today’s world of all-things-digital, how often do you get to hold something and feel the weight of it in your hands? Jane Addams Bookshop in downtown Champaign not only gives you a sense of touch, but also a sense of curiosity, and of course the sense of smell as you walk enter the store and inhale in the odor of old books. The curator of this massive collection, Susan Elmore, has owned the shop for almost ten years and has maintained the experience Jane Addams Bookstore has given its customers over its 35 year history.

Although not quite at retirement age when Susan and her husband bought the store, the Elmores decided to take a leap of faith and continue the tradition they fell in love with as customers. The store has a limited staff, mostly of Susan, her daughter-in-law Judy, a full time worker, and a part-time library student.

Susan believes, and I can attest, that it is the adventure through the store that keeps bringing in customers year-after-year. While we can’t recreate the smell of old books through video, we did capture some of its visuals and heard from the owner herself. Watch below.

Photo and video by Steven Pratten