Bookstore gears up for fall

Fall quarter is approaching and with it comes one of the busiest times of the year. The recently finished remodel of the Bellevue College bookstore space aims to alleviate previous problems and increase store efficiency, providing an easier and more helpful customer experience. This process begins with summer quarter book buybacks on Aug. 13 and 14, followed by textbooks being made available online as of Aug. 1 and in the BC bookstore Sept. 2.
The backroom office space has been minimized to allow for more room, better lighting has been installed and the checkout counter has been moved backwards up against the side of the store which opens up room for textbooks to be stocked on the main floor instead of behind the register counter. “We had what we called ‘counter service.’ […] Students would come in, they’d show us their schedule [and] we’d get their books,” explained Kristen Connely, bookstore director. “[With] the new floor plan that we have, […] we are going to be offering assistance, but [students] also have the option to search for books on their own.” The bookstore will be hiring additional staff specifically to help handle the fall quarter book rush. The idea behind these changes is to allow students to get through the store faster, not in a way that makes them feel like they’re only there to get books and get out, but rather by making the shopping experience a more pleasant one.
Besides rebuilding the bookstore, other changes have been made to help make the process easier on students. Textbook distribution will be moved from the bus station to the L-building fall quarter, taking advantage of the larger space to deal with the massive number of online sales the bookstore makes, as well as provide shelter to those waiting in line that the bus station couldn’t. The bus station will now be used to distribute information on transportation, parking passes and public safety in place of book distribution. The dates for textbook distribution in the L-building was undetermined at the time of print. Connely commented on these changes, saying that “we’re moving forward with a lot of ideas that we’ve been talking about over the years, so it’s kind of nice to finally see the results of a lot of discussions.”
To ease the burden on bookstore staff, textbook distribution will be handled by the Peer Assisted Leadership through Service Center, a student-run organization which serves as an information center for students. Peer-to-Peer, the student-run mentoring program predating the PALS Center, will continue to have student mentors patrolling the campus during what’s known as the “First Three Days.” According to PALS Center Supervisor Catherine Thruelsen, “On our first three days, we are all out and about campus to make sure that if students have questions, we can give them answers. […] We’re there to answer questions and let students know how much we appreciate them coming to our school, and really, that’s our goal in the PALS Center, is to be welcoming.” Between the reconstruction of the Bellevue College Bookstore and a refinement of procedures, the frantic fall quarter book rush may begin to lose its edge in the coming years.
Students can apply to be a mentor or to volunteer for the First Three Days by filling out an application by Aug. 29 which can be found at the PALS Center in C105 or at student programs in C212. Those hired would be compensated at a rate of $10 an hour. Students would have to attend one of 16 trainings in order to be eligible.