What People are Saying about the Scholar:
Recently the Scholar has been receiving some amazing reviews by travel bloggers and Video-bloggers. Here are just a few of those amazing reviews. Take a moment to read, view and follow these amazing bloggers.
by Malerie Yolen-Cohen
Oftentimes, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania seems like the forgotten, invisible city between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. But it shouldn’t be. With one of the country’s most magnificent public buildings, a compelling (and interactive) tribute to our enlisted men and women, and a bit of controversial history, Harrisburg and Carlisle are worth a few days to explore. Make sure to see the following, but for more “offbeat” escapes in the Northeast, consult the Getaway Mavens.
Wander through 15,000 sq feet of stacks containing over 100,000 books on several floors at Midtown Scholar Bookstore. One of America’s largest used academic bookstores, The New York Times called visiting here “nearly a religious experience.” The place is so huge and labyrinthine, the maze of a basement goes on and on, extending right beneath the street. It’s also a café, performance space and preferred meeting spot for book-clubs.
The Wordie Nerd – Video Blog
VISIT/SHOP: Midtown Scholar Bookstore. What was once the first non-segregated movie house in PA (and then a succession of clothing and antique stores) is now one of America’s largest used academic bookstores. The New York Times called visiting here “nearly a religious experience,” and you’ll see why as you wander through 15,000 sq feet of mazelike stacks containing over 100,000 books on several floors.
Owners Eric Papenfuse (Mayor of Harrisburg) and his wife, Kathy wanted to bring vitality back to this depressed area of town by anchoring this bookstore/coffee bar/café for book clubs, concert-goers, performing artists and discussion groups. They have succeeded – attracting an influx of young families and artists, an indie movie theater (Midtown Theater), Urban Churn (a hip old fashioned ice-cream shop), the Millworks (hyper-local restaurant and artist collective), and other restaurants, cafes and museums.
Last but not least, my favorite discovery in Harrisburg: the Midtown Scholar. To call it a bookstore seems misleading. It is like no bookstore I have ever visited before. It is really more of a community hub. Located in a former 1920s movie theatre – the first non-segregated theatre in Pennsylvania, in fact – this huge space holds more than 100,000 books. Amazingly, that is only 1/10th of their collection. The rest is contained in warehouses and sold online. Midtown Scholar offers many free (and some ticketed) events from poetry readings to musical performances to political events to comedy shows. They have classroom space for use by non-profit groups, community event space, a cafe, a children’s play area and, in the basement, a lovely collection of art and rare books for sale. Although many of the books are new, they are all sold at used book prices. No one is turned away at Midtown Scholar: if what you really need is to get in out of the cold and sit and read the newspaper, you will be welcome as long as you respect the space and the other patrons. Two days before I arrived, the owner of the store was elected Mayor of Harrisburg. He just happened to walk in while I was there, and I was really happy to be able to meet him and tell him how much I love what he is doing there.
Harrisburg feels like a city in transition, with lots of construction projects, a mayor with new ideas, and a commitment to promoting everything local. I really enjoyed it and I think it will only get better.
TravelGoGirl.com – Women’s Travel Blog
48 Hours in Hershey/Harrisburg: A Girl’s Guide
12pm: 100,000 books and an afternoon to read them, brought to you by the Midtown Scholar
If you’re a bookworm like we are, you’re going to feel like an industrial-age version of Belle walking into the Beast’s library when you visit the Midtown Scholar. Upon entry, the space has the open and vaulted feel of an old farmhouse. Off to the side, a fair-trade coffee bar offers snacks and beverages as you peruse the titles. But beware: it’s easy to suddenly, and without warning, find yourself in cavernous corners, along iron-banistered balconies, and in cozy adjacent reading rooms with snack bars and musician setups. The Midtown Scholar is owned by Harrisburg’s mayor and regularly hosts community events, weddings, and book clubs – between 20 and 30 events per week.
If you meet David, the events manager and curator of the LGBT Center Art Gallery next door, give him a big hug for us. It appears he loves books as much as we do.
The Constant Rambler – Travel Blog
When visiting Harrisburg, PA, several locals recommended we check out the Midtown Scholar Bookstore. We love reading and bookstores are somewhere Kenin and I both use for solitary recreation. All this being said, I wasn’t sure why such a huge deal was being made about this place. Most bookstores are pretty similar, books, comfy chairs, maybe a cafe to grab a cup of coffee. What would set Midtown Scholar Bookstore so far apart that it would be recommended to “tourists” like us?…Read More
Sweet & Savoring – Travel Blog
What a view as soon as you walk in! I loved seeing this expansive space, but what I loved even more was what I couldn’t see right away. Reading nooks, a second-level indoor/outdoor balcony, and a lower level that led to a labyrinth of even lower levels all endeared this bookstore to me even more.
Independent bookstores are perfect for cheap or hard to find books– especiallyMidtown Scholar. I walked away happy: I bought a great book on travel writing for only $5. Yessssss….Read More