By Peter Baugher
Franciscan University is in the process of transforming the campus bookstore, a process which includes changes to the textbook purchasing process and the physical store.
According to Dreama Thompson, the University Bookstore manager, Franciscan has developed a task force to evaluate the “store’s operational model.” This evaluation later resulted in the recommendation of changes.
One of the most significant changes relates to the way students purchase textbooks.
Traditionally, students ordered textbooks through the bookstore or through a third party. Either way, students needed to access the bookstore to view the book list for each course.
Now, the university is shifting textbook-sourcing to a third party called Slingshot.
Thompson said, “Slingshot provides a dependable yet affordable solution with the resources to offer superior service, flexible options, and an intuitive adoption platform (used by faculty).”
According to a document provided by Thompson, Slingshot offers a seven-day return policy, delivery to campus for residential students and additional resources like lab kits.
According to the document, “Returning students have the option to opt into the program if they’d like. New students will automatically be included and can opt out if they would prefer”
Already, students can find flyers around campus advertising for the new service with a QR access code. Students are already able to access course lists for Fall 2023.
The University plans to modify the operations of the physical bookstore as well.
“We are working to reposition our retail space to better support the university experience and mission (and) to increase product offerings to include athletics, Steubenville Conferences, and other university branded merchandise,” said Thompson.
Despite changes to the operations of the store, physical renovations of the space are not planned by the university.
Thompson said the university does not plan to move the store to a different location.
However, Thompson said that she cannot speak for the university’s long-term plan for the store. She indicated that the administration has discussed utilizing the current space in the J.C. for other purposes.
“The current space is an excellent location for many future endeavors many of which have been discussed as possible options over the years. However, I am not aware of any plans to move the store or what the current space may be used for in the future,” she said.