The Book Table, Oak Park's most visible bookstore, located at 1045 Lake St., has completed its expansion, reclaiming its original 2,800-square-foot storefront to the west.
The update, which expands the footprint of the store by almost 50 percent, aimed to give more prominent placement to the store's visual art books, including volumes on fine art, fashion, architecture, photography, film, music and television, Book Table co-owner Rachel Weaver said in a telephone interview.
The new space has been open since late July and also features rare and hardcover classic editions of books as well as books of poetry, performing arts, drama, literary criticism, philosophy and cultural studies.
Prior to the expansion, those books were in a corner of the store not so easily accessible by book-loving patrons, Weaver said.
"The decision that we made to put art books in that aesthetically open space just made sense," she said.
The open and airy new section is a stark contrast to the maze of sections in the original space that invites patrons to discover something new, she said.
Weaver said the concept of The Book Table was to feature tables of books that were easy to peruse, but as their inventory grew, so did the store's verticality. The added space gives the store some breathing room to get back to that original concept, Weaver said.
"It allows us to spread out our sections a little better with more front covers of books jumping out at you that you might not notice in the proverbial need in a haystack when they're packed together spine to spine," she said.
The Book Table also can now grow its selection of titles, which typically is around 70,000 books.
Weaver took the opportunity to thank supporters of the store who contributed, through an online fundraiser, some $50,000 to help pay for the expansion.
"We're incredibly touched that the community was so excited and so engage in the process," Weaver said.
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