Final chapter?

December 22, 2011

Does every university need a bookshop? Should universities encourage booksellers to locate their enterprises on the campus?

These are the questions raised by the sudden closure of Blackwell's bookshop at Sheffield Hallam University. Eleven employees will be made redundant.

At its most recent meeting, the student assembly was uncertain about the necessity of a bookshop to support people's studies. The need varied from course to course. Those students following the arts, humanities and social sciences were in favour; those in science, technology and business studies were less enthusiastic.

Although the sample was small, in part because of lack of information about the closure and a low level of student activity at Sheffield Hallam, the general feeling was that a bookshop enhances the image and approachability of a university, particularly to the general public.

Blackwell's at Hallam is based in university premises, opposite the city's new Millennium Gallery and in the heart of its Cultural Quarter. The university, it has been claimed, charged an annual rent of £106,000 for this prime site. Sales did not match costs and the shop became unprofitable.

A petition-based protest campaign to keep the shop open has received wide support. The two parties involved are now disputing the actual site costs. While the financial situation is being clarified, students and staff at Sheffield Hallam face a Christmas with an empty bookshop on their doorstep.

Nick Howard, Postgraduate student on the MA writing course, Sheffield Hallam University

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Technical Officer (Paramedic)

Staffordshire University

Professor in Marketing

Henley Business School

Lecturer or Senior Lecturer in Social Work

University Of The West Of Scotland

Research Service Manager

London School Of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (lshtm)
See all jobs

Most Commented

Daniel Mitchell illustration (29 June 2017)

Academics who think they can do the work of professional staff better than professional staff themselves are not showing the kind of respect they expect from others

As the pay of BBC on-air talent is revealed, one academic comes clean about his salary

Senior academics at Teesside University put at risk of redundancy as summer break gets under way

Capsized woman and boat

Early career academics can be left to sink or swim when navigating the choppy waters of learning scholarly writing. Helen Sword says a more formal, communal approach can help everyone, especially women

Thorns and butterflies

Conditions that undermine the notion of scholarly vocation – relentless work, ubiquitous bureaucracy – can cause academics acute distress and spur them to quit, says Ruth Barcan