Committee favors NIU-run bookstore

By Stephanie Bradley

Holmes Student Center Bookstore Evaluation Committee members voted Wednesday 8 to 1 in favor of retaining the bookstore as an NIU-run operation.

In discussions before and after the vote, several members said they intended to vote in favor of NIU’s retention of the bookstore because they believed NIU can run the bookstore as well as, or better than, an outside vendor.

The committee will write up a formal recommendation to the NIU administration at its next meeting on Dec. 7.

Committee member Margie Marshall said the bookstore could be run well with a strong administration and a strong director. She said a student charge card system could make the bookstore into “a six million dollar operation” as well as help students who cannot afford to buy all their books at once. Marshall also suggested a freshman, book reservation system as a possible improvememt.

Committee member John Martin said remodeling the bookstore is the only improvement an outside vendor could make. He said leasing the operation “seems to be a way to make a fast buck.”

Studying goals and objectives and obtaining increased faculty input were some of committee member Lois Kreidel’s suggestions. “We need to show we can do a bang-up job running the university,” she said.

Committee member Morton Frisch said he did not vote for retention of the bookstore because the bookstore has had 25 years to improve itself and has not done it. He said the bookstore needs the atmosphere of a college bookstore such as that at the University of Chicago. He said he disagrees with stocking items such as candy and clothes because the student center bookstore is supposed to be “a college bookstore, not a general store.”

A list of improvements put together by committee Chairman Jerry Johns was presented to the committee. It consists of:

Increasing the use of used textbooks.

Strengthening the trade book department.

Reconsidering the number of employees in administrative positions.

Remodeling the bookstore.

Introducing a student charge card.

Increasing the use of the bookstore advisory committee for input.

Finding ways to reduce labor costs.

Johns also suggested the bookstore should be re-evaluated in three years if the present operation is not working.

Several members discussed the possibility of having someone outside of the bookstore evaluate the bookstore and its problems. But William Herrmann, Bond Revenue Operations director, said: “We know what the problems are. We have to buckle down and take care of them. We need to stop looking outside to solve our problems.