Little City Book Fair opens Friday at Harper

It’s time for the annual Little City Foundation Book Fair, Friday through Sunday, Aug. 19-21, at Harper College in Palatine.

The nationally renowned used book sale that’s been a North Shore fixture since 1958 is entering a new era.

Little City Foundation, which took over the literary extravaganza five years ago from a Brandeis University women’s group, opted to relocate to Harper College this year from its former location in the Westfield Old Orchard Shopping Center parking lot in Skokie.

In addition to the new location, the fundraiser is being cut from 10 days to a single weekend, since organizers have seen that the bulk of the 8,000 or so attendees have traditionally visited the first few days.

Hundreds of thousands of books in nearly 60 subject categories await inside the Harper College Gymnasium.

In addition to bargain books, the Little City Book Fair has an extensive collection of CDs, DVDs, comic books and collectors books. Prices range from 50 cents to $5, except for collector books.

All proceeds from the fair go to Little City Foundation to support children and adults with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities. The event has raised about $200,000 each of the past few years, an amount Little City hopes to maintain in the wake of funding cuts.

Want to be first in line? You can reserve a spot in line for opening night, by picking up a number at the front of Building M between 9 a.m.-noon Friday. During that time, numbers will given on a first-come, first-served basis.

No chairs can be left unattended at any time at Harper College and no one can stand in line before 3 p.m. Friday. After 3 p.m., visitors can sit in chairs until the opening.

Parking lots 12 and 13 are ideal for big purchases; Parking lots 1 and 2 for small purchases.

The book fair was organized in the late 1950s by the Illinois North Shore Chapter of the Brandeis University National Women’s Committee, which donated the money to purchase materials for the university’s library in Waltham, Mass. Little City took control of the event after the group decided 2006 would be its last year due to an aging and diminished volunteer base.

Little City Foundation engages and supports individuals, families and communities to ensure that children and adults with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities can realize their unique potential to live safely, learn continuously, explore creatively and work productively. Through programs that encompass employment, recreation, advocacy and the arts, these individuals are encouraged to fully participate in the communities where they live, work and interact.

Visit for more information.

The fair’s location has changed this year, but the same massive quantities of books will be available in the Harper College gymnasium. Courtesy Little City

If you go

What: Little City 2011 book fair, Friday-Sunday, Aug. 19-21

Where: Harper College Gymnasium, Building M, Algonquin and Roselle roads, Palatine. Parking lots 1, 2, 12 and 13 are the most convenient.

Hours: 5-10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Cost: Free Saturday and Sunday; $10 on Friday.

Payment: Cash, personal checks, credit cards.

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