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  • Writer's pictureRobin Alexander

Grab a Read in the Fort

Updated: Apr 16

Bookcase at Hyde Brothers Booksellers

Looking for a place to grab your next best read while you're visiting the Fort? Here's a list of the best go-tos for reading in Fort Wayne.

  1. Hyde Brothers Booksellers Address: 1428 Wells St. This bookstore is truly a treasure. From the outside, it has the appearance of being a small, cute used bookstore that won't take long to look through. But as the old saying goes, you can't judge a book by its cover and it seems like this bookstore is the very reason why this saying is so true. Once you step inside, it's easy to feel a little overwhelmed by the towering bookshelves and even offer those sliding ladders so you can reach the top titles. But even then, as we walked down the first couple of aisles, we didn't yet have a full appreciation for just how BIG this store truly is. With two floors packed with titles, and more aisles hidden behind walls, it's easy to believe the Hyde Brothers' website: there must be more than 150,000 titles to take in, and in every possible genre. If you pay the store a visit, count on spending an hour or more wandering through the store. And don't be surprised if a resident cat or two pops in to check on you (we had one follow us through most of the downstairs area - our little mascot was not at all thrilled when we came home smelling like another animal. Pros: Enormous selection - it's hard to think they missed any genre and even harder to think you won't find at least one title you'll want to adopt. They currently offer a "Last Thursday" event at the end of every month. Local authors come in to read for 15-20 minutes, and the event is free. Close to downtown for other sightseeing or a visit to the library (more on that in a minute). Cons: Parking is pretty limited to the street, and it's a busy one. There are nearby side roads if the weather is decent and you don't mind a short walk that may not be as busy.

  2. Half Price Books Address: 533 E. Coliseum Blvd.

A 11/22/63 copy bought a Half Bookstore

Depending on where you're coming from, you may already be familiar with this used bookstore chain since they have locations in 19 states. This was the first bookstore outside of Barnes and Noble in the area that we learned about. It's a goodsized bookstore specializing in genre fiction, although they also carry other titles. Along with books, they also have used video game systems and games, DVDs, vinyl, cassettes, CDs, and a kid's corner complete with a small selection of toys. Although the selection isn't as large as Hyde Brothers, Half Price Books is large enough to give you plenty of options. I purchased my first copy of 11/22/63 by Stephen King here, some CDs, a couple of games, and the girls even have picked out a few reads. The prices were always good, and the staff was friendly.

Pros: Plenty of parking - Half Price Books is located in a strip mall so there's plenty of parking. Good spot to pick up lunch before or after shopping: The strip mall has a Blaze Pizza and a Potbelly Sandwich restaurant just a few doors down - no reason to move the car - and if those aren't for you, you are right in the middle of the prime shopping district, so not only are there plenty of more options up and down Coliseum, you're also close to the mall, McDonald's, Red Lobster, Portillo's, and just about anything else you could want. Good Selection-especially if you're looking for popular fiction Cons: If you're looking for a hidden treasure or limited print title, you might find it here, but Hyde Brothers would be the better bet.

3. Barnes and Noble Booksellers Address: 4201 Coldwater Rd Suite B-01 or 1034 S. Thomas Rd.

Ste 107

Okay, okay, I don't think there's a whole lot I can say about Barnes and Noble that you don't already know. This superchain bookstore is a mainstay and this location is a decent size with its coffee shop, books, toys, kids section, magazines, and entertainment area. The location at Coldwater is inside the Glenbrooke Mall - a decent-sized mall with all the typical stores and few unique ones. If you have kiddos with you, be warned or be assured (I know it can go both ways) that not only does Barnes and Noble offer toys, but there is a Build-A-Bear in the mall along with a couple of other shops your kiddos will love. If you decide to check out the location on Thomas Rd., it is part of a strip mall off the busy Illinois Rd. & Jefferson Rd. shopping district. This particular store location is my favorite of the two, even though it is much smaller, but there's just something about the atmosphere I prefer. There's no coffee shop inside here, though, so if that's something you like to do when visiting B&N, you want to choose the Coliseum location. Regardless of which location you choose to visit, you can easily find other shopping, restaurants, and things to do within an easy driving distance. Pros: Familiar chain so it's easy to know what you're going to get when you go inside. Both locations give you a lot of other options for shopping and aren't far from I-69

Cons: More expensive than the used bookstore

4. Allen County Public Library

Main Branch: 900 Library Plaza Allen County Public Library is impressive. With several branches throughout the city, one library card allows you to rent from anywhere in Fort Wayne (and even order titles from one branch to another). But if you're visiting the area, you want to head over to the Main Branch downtown.

Main Branch Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne

With 367,000+ square feet of space stretched between two floors and designated areas for adults, children, business, and media, the main branch of the Allen County Library offers so much more than a typical library experience. Within its walls, it also houses a small art gallery, Fort Wayne's Access TV studios, and an Abraham Lincoln exhibit complete with select artifacts. And if that wasn't enough, it also offers the Fred J. Reynolds Historical Genealogy Department, which is the largest public genealogy department in the United States if you want to track down your family history. Add to all that reading programs, used book sales, events such as book signings with local authors, and summer plaza concerts, the main branch truly is a destination in of itself.

Pros: It's big, and if you're visiting, you can easily lose an afternoon looking through books and all of the added services.

There is an attached parking garage that has direct access to the library via steps or elevators and is only $1 per hour with a $7 max at the time of writing the blog. If you are a library card holder, parking is free if validated when you visit.

Location is everything, and this library is right downtown within walking distance of the Tin Caps or the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. If you are staying at the Courtyard by Marriott Fort Wayne Downtown at Grand Wayne Convention Center, you can also walk through the city to get to the library. Cons: It's a library, so if you're from out of town, you may not be able to rent anything. But you can write down those titles and check out one of the bookstores, so it's not all bad!

Happy Reading!



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