Best of Springfield®

Best Used Bookstore

Prairie Archives

Photo by Joseph Copely

Prairie Archives

Prairie Archives hasn’t been in Springfield forever, it just seems like it, and every town should be so lucky. Smells of paper and aging carpet help feed a sense of familiarity and purpose perfect for its downtown venue, where an alleged quarter-million volumes, give or take, wait for new owners. We’ve all seen bookstore cats, but at Prairie Archives, Lola, the golden retriever mix you’ve always longed for, greets you at the door. She’s been around a few months, you’re told, despite occasionally chewing on merchandise. And what merchandise it is. Besides books, there are treasures ranging from postcards to posters to an unused World War II era punch card game, with cigarettes advertised as a prize. Years ago, a friend scored a copy of the famous Chicago Tribune “Dewey Defeats Truman” edition for an attractive price. The cataloguing is haphazard and delightful. How the Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis shares shelf space with Hunter S. Thompson’s Generation of Swine in the section marked “Journalism.” Fair warning, you can spend hours here, so allow plenty of time.

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