CHICAGO—Electronic media has made global communication easier than ever, but it seems we are we forgetting what it means to slow down and connect face to face. Annie and Lewis Kostiner, owners of the new eclectic bookbar kibbitznest books, brews & blarney in Lincoln Park, are betting we miss those times. The bookstore and bar is founded on the radical notion that people do want to talk to each other. Excessive use of smartphones will be discouraged (of course, picture taking is allowed) and laptops must be kept in their carrying cases, all to help guests engage without the distractions of everyday technology. Profits from books, brews & blarney benefit the tenant and nonprofit, kibbitznest inc.
“It’s time to step back in time and take notice of what the potential negative impact will be on our society if we choose face-to-face social interaction less and less in favor of digital communication networks,” Annie Kostiner said.
The nonprofit organization, kibbitznest, will organize programs with direction from an appointed advisory council that includes a number of Chicago thoughtleaders, such as David Travis, retired curator of the Art Institute of Chicago; Peter Perl, retired senior editor at the Washington Post; and Curt Winkle, head of the department of urban planning and policy at UIC; all of whom share an expertise in the liberal arts and a genuine concern for preserving quality human communication. The programs will emphasize an appreciation of the liberal arts and include collaboration with colleges, museums, educators, writers, artists, cultural centers and other nonprofits. In addition, the public can propose events via its website.
Kibbitznest will host Eric Pickersgill, an internationally exhibited artist and photographer, for the grand opening event’s keynote, sponsored by Gold Coast Bank. His work focuses on the psychological and social effects that cameras and their artifacts have on individuals, especially in the age of social media.
The bookbar features various seating options to play games, relax, unplug and chat with fellow visitors and enjoy a menu of cheeses, Chicago-style hot dogs and ice cream, along with beer, wine and slow-brewed coffee. Guests are encouraged to browse its carefully curated selection of uncommon and interesting books, both new and used, in the liberal arts category. The shop also stocks fun and interesting book-related, retro, and socially engaging gift items geared toward encouraging social interaction, traditional human communication, and intellectual stimulation.
Kibbitznest books, brews & blarney is located at 2212 N. Clybourn Ave. in Lincoln Park. Guests are asked to bring donations of used books in the liberal art category to benefit the nonprofit. The grand opening event is slated for 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6.
About kibbitznest: Kibbitznest inc. is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization and wifi-free zone dedicated to the preservation of quality human face-to-face communication. The ultimate goal is to promote an understanding of the world and its people by coming together face-to-face to think, to teach, to talk, to listen, to read, to argue, to discuss, to inquire, to look at, and to be human.
About Gold Coast Bank: An Illinois-chartered community bank, Gold Coast Bank is the “best kept secret in Chicago” with personal and business banking services in addition to consumer and home loans. For more, visit goldcoastbank.net.