Apr 21, 2009

Barnes & Noble: "The new campus living room"

by Daniel Martinez

Once the bright scarlet ribbon stretched between the front pillars was cut, the two strips of fabric had barely fluttered to the ground before a crowd of eager students, staff and local residents rushed inside the new Liberty University Bookstore. Inside, they marveled at the increased floor space spanning the two stories including a fantastic new Starbucks Café with indoor and outdoor seating. As they moved about, the sheer number and variety of titles sunk in — “The Maker’s Diet,” “Hello Cupcake!,” “The Church That Prays Together,” “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist,” “Who Moved My Cheese,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Beowulf ” and “Weddings: Do It For Less.”

“I’m surprised to see some of the books here,” sophomore Randy Miller said, after referring to the new bookstore
as “absolutely awesome.” “It’s very much like a real Barnes & Noble.”

Barnes & Noble, which has been a partner with Liberty since 1998, was the major money lender behind the new store, which opened just over a week after the bookstore in DeMoss Hall closed its doors for good.The opening of the new store was preceded by an hour of exciting festivities and entertainment. Free kettle corn, cotton candy, drinks and T-shirts were available to the assembled group, who also had the chance to get up close and personal with Sparky, the Liberty mascot, and Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat. Flames cheerleaders and LU Praise were also part of the festivities.

At 10 a.m., Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. spoke to the waiting crowd, describing the bookstore as just the first of many projects being developed around the campus. After a few brief speeches by the group within Liberty and Barnes & Noble who helped make the store a reality, Thomas Road Baptist Church Pastor Jonathan Falwell prayed for the building.

“We dedicate this building and the books in it to encourage and inspire,” he said.
Within minutes, a large pair of scissors was revealed, Jerry Jr. and Bookstore Manager Ellen Mayes cut the ribbon, and the crowd gained entry, not before grabbing one of the slices of cake being handed out near the front doors.

“We’re very excited about it,” Mayes said of the store. “It is a great place for students to come in and relax.”
Prominent among the new bookstore’s features is a 60-seat Barnes & Noble Café serving Starbucks coffee and other refreshments. This is located over the lower floor of the bookstore, where students will buy textbooks in future semesters.

An abundance of other items necessary to living the college student life line the shelves on the lower floor, including bedsheets, towels, rugs, trash cans, clothes hangers, irons, electric fans and even a few cosmetics.

“This is impressive,” Director of the Office of Student Leadership Dwayne Carson said. He considered the bookstore “a great addition” to the Liberty campus.

On the top floor, students and other customers can dive into a realistic Barnes & Noble setting, with significant sections dedicated to children’s books, sports, cooking and biographies — sections that were not particularly prominent at the old store. Students can also find the familiar display of Nyquil, razors, deodorant, rubbing alcohol and medicines including Benadryl and Pepcid AC on a shelf similar to the one in the old store.

An added major attraction of the day was a special book signing by Macel Falwell, author of “Jerry Falwell: His Life and Legacy” and Dr. Tim LaHaye and his wife Beverly signing “Jesus Chronicles: Luke’s Story” and “A Woman’s Path to True Significance,” respectively. The LaHayes flew in from California for the event, and had positive words for the new attraction, which is three times the size of its predecessor.

LaHaye then bequeathed a word of wisdom on the store and its importance, quoting a Christian success motivation teacher Charlie “Tremendous” Jones: “You are today the result of the books you have read and the people you have met over the past 10 years.”

“(The bookstore) will be a blessing to Liberty for years to come,” Dr. LaHaye said.

Contact Daniel Martinez at


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