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Iconic, Eclectic, Independent Bookstore in Center City Calls It Quits

(Robin's Books, at 13th and Sansom Streets in center city Philadelphia, will be closing its doors for good at the end of the year.  Credit: Pat Loeb)

(Robin’s Books, at 13th and Sansom Streets in center city Philadelphia, will be closing its doors for good at the end of the year. Credit: Pat Loeb)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One of the last independent bookstores in Philadelphia is closing, and with it a community gathering place and cultural center.

When Larry Robin joined the family business in 1960, Robin’s Books (started in 1936 by his grandfather) was one of 20 bookstores in center city Philadelphia.

But it has not been easy to be among the last men standing, he says now, and it rests largely on his passion — not just for books but for everything they generate.

“Literature is the source of everything,” Robin tells KYW Newsradio.  “A story drives your mentality, it drives your interest, it’s a driving influence in how you think and learn.”

robin larry office  patloeb Iconic, Eclectic, Independent Bookstore in Center City Calls It Quits

(Larry Robin, owner of Robin’s Books, in his office. Credit: Pat Loeb)

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It was that belief that led Larry Robin to expand the bookstore’s mission, to include programs on history and poetry, plus author talks and a pre-school. That, he hopes, will continue.  But it will be, in his words, “decentralized.”

“One of the things we’re going to miss is the community, the camaraderie, the place for people to come and talk and hang out,” he says.

So, like coal in our stocking, Robin’s will close at Christmas, but programs are already scheduled through the end of the year.  The lineup just this week is quite stunning: high school poets tomorrow, nonfiction author Lori Hogan talking about international aid on Wednesday, and this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for playwriting on Thursday.

Listen to Pat Loeb’s interview with Larry Robin below…

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