Monday, July 25, 2011

Coming Attractions

This year's adult faith program (beginning in January) will be Fr. Robert Barron's ten-part video series, "Catholicism." Call (or email) to enroll.
 We hope to offer a preview screening in September, but meanwhile, here is the trailer for a sneak preview:

Do you hear what I hear...on Michigan Avenue?

You may notice something new as you walk up to our bookstore entrance...the sounds of the Daughters of St. Paul music! Thanks to Sr Anne's Mom (who donated the outdoor speakers) and to HFI member Bill Perales (who installed them), passers-by get a gentle wave of inspirational music whether they continue on their way or, as some have begun to do, stop and take a look at the source of such an unexpected experience. Sister Frances' beautiful front window treatments add to the invitation and give the location a clearly Catholic identity.
Our summer months are usually pretty quiet, but the recently-installed sound system seems to be encouraging new visitors to step inside. The first thing many people want to know is how long the Pauline center has been here. (Um, thirty years!)  It has been consoling to hear several people who, after their first visit, express the intention to make Pauline (and the chapel) their own special sanctuary!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Borders bookstores' final chapter

Is there a place for bookstores in a society where the most avid readers keep their Kindle (or Nook or Kobe or iPad) in their backpack and order books through the ether? This is the question that our community has been discussing since Borders announced it would be closing its last remaining (399) bookstores. Analyses by the Chicago Tribune and the online magazine Slate indicate that the chain made the fatal mistake of focusing more on their brick-and-mortar locations than on the Internet. By the time they attempted to enter the online marketplace in a real way, Amazon and Barnes and Noble had already established themselves securely. Even though Barnes and Noble still faces challenges, it gets a healthy percentage of its income from online sales--something that Borders never managed to do.

While we don't see ourselves going the way of Borders any time soon, the huge chain's experience does challenge us. After all, we have put a great deal of effort and expense into our small national "chain" of Pauline Book & Media Centers, centers our Founder loved to speak of as "not stores, but pulpits from which the Word of God reaches people."

Have you visited our Michigan Ave. location or recommended it to others?