BC bookstore seeks ‘B.I.G.’ council with faculty, students

Cassandra McGowan, Reporter

It has been two-and-a-half years since Barnes and Noble took over the Bakersfield College bookstore, and the company is now ready to implement a new committee for the Kern Community College District’s bookstores.

Bookstore Innovation Group, or B.I.G., is already in use in many of the other college bookstores that Barnes and Noble operates, and KCCD bookstore General Manager Brian Griffin said he hopes to see consistent assessment on how well the bookstore is serving students attending any of the colleges within KCCD.

“This is a Barnes and Noble corporate initiative that they want us to do pretty much across the board on all of our campuses. The campuses where they have already initiated this kind of stuff, it’s provided a lot of really good feedback and growth,” said Griffin.

Griffin has worked for Barnes and Noble for 10 years and said that the company was brought in to help KCCD provide more efficient and effective goods and services within the bookstores.

Before Barnes and Noble came in, the bookstore at BC did not offer textbook rental, and now, Griffin says the bookstore offers about 80 percent of their textbooks for rent.

“The biggest thing is just making sure that we’re showing that we’re trying to listen to the campus.  We don’t want the personification that people see the bookstore as we’re trying to take their money.  We want to provide cost-saving options to the students and the campus,” Griffin said.

This is where B.I.G. comes in.

The group will be comprised of Griffin, a client of Barnes and Noble, two BC students, two members of BC faculty, and two members of the BC staff.  Griffin said this particular group of people would be able to better assist the bookstore staff to understand which needs are or are not being met from all around the school.

As it stands now, Griffin only meets with the department chairs prior to semester start.

He believes B.I.G. can help him better grasp how the bookstore can be more helpful to students by having actual students in the group to give advice.

“We just basically want to gain feedback on what we can provide to the students,” said Griffin.

He also said that not every discussion necessarily has to be about textbooks as the bookstore offers a variety of items for purchase.

“It might be that we find out it’s a drafting kit we’ve never had in the bookstore, and if you’re a financial aid student where we’re the only avenue you can purchase your materials, well we’re kind of not doing the service that we’re here for,” said Griffin.

Griffin said he had hoped to get B.I.G. started this semester, but as the end of the semester is approaching, he said it looks like the group will form sometime after the start of the upcoming spring semester.

Meetings will take place once or twice a semester with panel members being chosen at random and switched out after every academic year.

Griffin asked that students keep a watchful eye on the bookstore’s Facebook page.

He will be updating it with information regarding how to apply to possibly become a member of B.I.G.

Griffin said he hopes that this board will continue to raise the level of assistance the bookstore can offer to help students make a smooth entrance into each semester.

“We’re just trying to be better every semester, and we are trying to improve every semester,” he said.