Transformation of CIU Bookstore Underway

January 24, 2014

By Melissa McCutchan

CIU Student Writer

The Columbia International University bookstore is undergoing a major change this spring semester. Books are out, while coffee and conversation are in. 

Until recently, students could purchase their textbooks from the on-campus bookstore in the Rossi Student Center.  However, with more students purchasing their textbooks online, the CIU administration decided it was time to switch to an online provider for textbooks, as well.    

“The school decided it would be better for the students, since the trend is to order [textbooks] online,” store manager Kathy Weathersby explained.

Beginning with the removal of bookshelves, the bookstore began the transformation to a campus store and café where students can buy a snack, study in a relaxed atmosphere or fellowship over a cup of coffee.

“I like the idea of having a coffee shop right in the student center,” sophomore Hannah Jones said.  “It's easily accessible and is a great hangout spot to either get stuff done, or chill with friends.”

While the initial changes are modest — additional seating, cappuccinos, and fresh-baked cookies — there are plans for major renovations in the near future.

“If God provides the funds, we plan on doing a total remodel in the summer and reopen in the fall, with an expanded food selection and improved seating,” Weathersby said.  “We hope to offer evening pizza, a grill, something that’s open when the cafeteria is closed.”

In addition to offering a broader selection of food, the store stocks school supplies and CIU-embossed clothing and CIU Rams spirit wear.   

As the campus store and café begins to take shape, the management will be surveying students for improvements, including a name for the location.

“This is for the students,” Weathersby said.  “We want to provide what they want to see.”

Though the beginnings of this campus store are modest, students are excited for the change, and many are enjoying the new space.

“It’s somewhere to stop and spend a half an hour instead of returning to [the] dorm room,” junior Matthew Dunavant said.  “I’ll definitely be going back.”