Community Council Discusses Bookstore Transition


This past week, the Community Council held a session with Mike Roy, the Dean of the Library. During that time, we discussed two recommendations that the council is currently working toward.

The first recommendation is in regard to the recent transition to an online bookstore, rather than an on-campus bookstore. Many of the issues associated with this new system were highlighted in a Campus editorial article released on Mar. 7th. This included the difficulties the online system created during the add-drop period, and for those who utilize the financial assistance program. These issues had already come up in preliminary discussions which have taken place in the Council sessions. Many of the suggested approaches in the aforementioned article were also posed, such as opening up a similar platform to Amazon Marketplace specifically for Middlebury students, utilizing OpenSource resources and expanding the financial aid program. In the coming weeks, the council will be connecting with various stakeholders to identify possible steps that can be taken. This includes hearing the reasoning for such transition from the bookstore.

Two of the posed suggestions made within the council were enhancing the reserve system, as well as advertising the interlibrary loan system more widely. These were the two points that were focused on during conversations with Mike Roy. Following a valuable discussion about the already constrained library budget, it was understood that the reserve system could not be expanded much further. It also became apparent that this would not necessarily solve the overarching need for newer editions of textbooks. Thus, alternative approaches were raised, such as encouraging the use of OpenSource textbooks, and sharing syllabi ahead of the semester. As for the interlibrary loan system, the Community Council will include provisions in the final recommendation to encourage the library to produce a guide for this useful resource, as well as other forms of acquiring textbooks.

Roy also brought forth information regarding the debate of 24/7 library hours during exam periods. Based on the head-count from last semester’s exam period, library use after 2am was consistently below 25 students. With this information in mind, the Community Council will be joining with the SGA to conduct informal student polling on whether the preference for 24/7 library hours during exam periods is a study-space issue, or resource issue.

All members of the college community are invited and encouraged to gather feedback, brainstorm solutions to a problem, and present their own concerns, questions or recommendations. Please feel free to email the Community Council at, or attend our meetings on Monday 4:30 p.m. in Axinn 104.

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