Follett Features

University Village Bookstore Grows Reputation and Relationships with Community Engagement


Dec 1, 2016
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What image comes to mind when thinking about the local campus bookstore? For many, it’s the iconic stacks of textbooks, rows of school supplies or racks of school branded sweatshirts. How about a gathering of elementary students listening intently to a reading of Curious George or an event popup shop selling the latest releases from the headlining speaker? Old Dominion’s University Village Bookstore in Norfolk, VA, commits to delivering all of the above. In addition to offering classroom and campus life essentials, the Follett-operated University Village Bookstore also serves as a routine host and trusted partner for local events.

Marc Katz, trade team lead at University Village Bookstore, relishes his freedom to find new event opportunities for the bookstore. His strategy is simple – keep up with what’s happening in the literary and local communities, and figure out how the bookstore can get involved. For example, 2016 was the eighth year the bookstore supported Old Dominion University’s Annual Literary Festival. The bookstore offered the 300+ attendees a range of trade books tied to the five-day event, including titles in history, poetry and autobiography. In addition, the bookstore coordinated 14 author signings to celebrate the people behind the prose and poetry.

“Our colleagues at the bookstore rock. Our literary events are enriched by their partnership in suggesting writers, promoting the event, and fulfilling the audience’s desire to read on,” said Katherine Jackson, Senior Lecturer for Old Dominion University’s English Department.

University Village Bookstore also extends its book sales support beyond the campus, setting up popup shops for events hosted by the local World Affairs Council, Chamber of Commerce and Norfolk Forum, to name a few. The bookstore team’s ultimate goal is to help make the event a more memorable and meaningful experience for attendees. To some, books at an event popup shop may be an impulse buy or souvenir, but to others, it’s an immediate next step to explore a new interest.

For the littlest members of the Norfolk community, University Village Bookstore annually visits local elementary schools to mark the birthday of Dr. Seuss’s beloved Cat in the Hat. The fun continues at the bookstore where attendees enjoy face painting, games, snacks and readings from local celebrities like the University president and members of the football and basketball teams. In addition to drawing nearly 300 local children and parents, the event also fosters deeper connections with fellow campus services and University departments. Last year Old Dominion’s Art Education department provided decorations and painted the bookstore’s windows while Aramark, the school’s foodservice vendor, provided cupcakes.

The bookstore also hosts in-store events that tap into current fandom and pop culture trends. Recent examples include Star Wars, Harry Potter and even adult coloring with a “Keep Calm and Color” event hosted to help alleviate studying stress. Latest craze events often attract a diverse audience, from college students and staff to curious community members. This wide variety of events, and resulting appeal to customers of all ages and interests, speaks to the well-rounded services offered by the local campus bookstore.

“Yes the bookstore has textbooks, but we offer so much more. We’re a welcoming space to celebrate shared interests, and a constant advocate for community engagement and learning,” Katz explained.

Interested in learning more about upcoming events or potential book sales opportunities with the local Follett campus bookstore? Feel free to contact bookstore management directly to learn more.

Image: Old Dominion University’s Art Education department provided decorations and painted the bookstore’s windows for the University Village Bookstore’s Dr. Seuss celebration.