The closing of Borders Bookstore on West End Avenue last May as part of the company’s bankruptcy reorganization ushered in a dark chapter for lovers of the printed word, leaving much of Nashville—which had also seen the closing of Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Green Hills a few months earlier—without a bookstore, save for a handful of small shops that sell mostly used volumes.
But thanks to a partnership between Vanderbilt and Barnes & Noble, the old Borders space has morphed into a university bookstore serving both town and gown. The new store opened in November.
Barnes & Noble operates more than 630 campus bookstores across the U.S. for such institutions as Harvard, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, Indiana University and Georgia Tech. In addition to offering items customers would expect to find at other Barnes & Noble retail outlets, the new bookstore offers Vanderbilt textbooks, course materials, apparel, other university items and a café.
And what happens to the old Rand Hall space? Last fall the Office of the Dean of Students conducted a feasibility study for repurposing the space, weighing suggestions provided by more than 1,300 students through focus groups, surveys and videos.
Work is now under way to create an additional dining room, a campus store to provide items typically stocked at Varsity Market locations, meeting and conference rooms, an extensive student organization and leadership suite, centrally located offices for the Office of Active Citizenship and Service, and more. Plans call for the majority of work to be completed by fall.