This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the University Bookstore, the official bookstore of the University of Maine. To commemorate the occasion, a “birthday party” will be held this Friday from 1-3 p.m. at the store, located in the lower level of the Memorial Union. Students, faculty and staff members, alumni and friends are all invited to join the festivities that will include historical displays, giveaways, refreshments and more. University of Maine President Paul Ferguson and other distinguished guests will be a part of the celebration.
This centennial milestone provides the occasion to reflect upon the rich history of this significant university institution.
The bookstore has been serving the campus community since 1911, when the university acquired the “College Store,” which was opened around 1910 in Coburn Hall by four alumni, the Sampson brothers. The university eventually changed the name of the operation to “University Store Co.” selling textbooks, supplies and athletics merchandise. In 1917, the store was relocated to Fernald Hall, where it remained for 50 years. The diverse services at the Fernald location also included a barbershop, soda fountain, grill and snack bar.
As the university grew, so did the University Store Co., which in 1967 was moved to the Memorial Union now home to the Faculty Development Center and Wade Center for Student Leadership. This location primarily served as the home for merchandise and supplies, while textbooks were sold from an annex in the parking lot of the Maine (now Collins) Center for the Arts.
In 2001, all bookstore functions were consolidated to the current location in the lower level of Memorial Union, where the store operates as the University Bookstore. From here, the store has continued to evolve in response to student needs. Textbook options now include rentals and eBooks, along with traditional offerings of new and used books. Trade books, magazines, supplies and merchandise selections all reflect customer preferences and trends.
Each year, the bookstore furthers promotes the ideas of partnership, collaboration and giving back. In fact, proceeds from the sale of specific items are regularly donated to campus-sponsored student
organizations. All proceeds of the sale of the Holiday Ornament Series are donated to each year’s selected student organization, a tradition that began in 2003. Contributions and support are also provided for fundraisers, New Student Orientation, volunteerism and alumni events.
The bookstore also provides incentive awards to departments for use in support of students who excel in their academic fields. The relationship with faculty is essential in the bookstore’s ability to keep accurate, more affordable textbook options available. As a direct outcome of faculty members choosing to use textbook editions for more than one semester, the bookstore last year was able to pass along $1 million in savings to students through its used book program, with an additional $1 million and more being returned to students through the textbook buyback program. The UMaine bookstore remains one of the largest providers of used textbooks in the country.
“The University Bookstore is proud of its heritage and accomplishments, but is quick to note that all thanks go to students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends for helping to make 100 years of service possible. says store manager Dick Young. “It is through their support and open dialogue that the store is able to remain a worthwhile operation that is integral to the university mission at large. The birthday celebration this Friday is truly to recognize and extend appreciation to the entire community.”
Sept. 27. 2011
Contact: Thomas Diaz
University of Maine Auxiliary Services