Bridging the Past with the Future at Quincy College Bookstores

August 22, 2014


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When tourists come to Quincy, Massachusetts, it’s often to step back in time and relive history: Adams National Historical Park is the birthplace of not one, but two U.S. presidents: John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams.

When students come to Quincy College — a two-year college serving nearly 4,000 students on campuses located in the city of Quincy and its satellite campus in Plymouth — they take a step into the future with cutting-edge programs from biotechnology and compliance to computer science, surgical technology and security administration. How does a bookstore reconcile the two? In the case of Barnes & Noble at Quincy College, the answer is: with dexterity. “We’ve got a campus in the City of Presidents and a campus where the Pilgrims landed,” said Regional Manager Glen Hoyle. “And we opened bookstores on both campuses on the same day.”

A Community Bookstore

Quincy College_entranceThe Barnes & Noble at Quincy College bookstore is located in the atrium shared by two eight-story office buildings where the college occupies four floors. In addition to a coffee shop and convenience store, the atrium is also home to the Adams National Historical Park Visitors Center, where sightseers board a trolley for a tour of three historic homes: the birthplaces of John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and the Old House at Peace field, which offered four generations of the Adams family a place of tranquility and a respite from war and politics. “Because of our unique location, our diverse trade book selection will definitely have an emphasis on Colonial America and presidential history, as well as other history-related merchandise for those with an interest in those areas,” Hoyle said.

While the new bookstore has a home right on campus — and across the street from a busy MBTA subway line — its predecessor was located several blocks away, making it more difficult to access. “This location unifies the bookstore and the campus,” explained Joseph Mercurio, Quincy College’s vice-president of administration and finance. “In addition to students and visitors, the bookstore will be of interest to occupants of the building, which houses a variety of businesses, including medical practices and accounting firms,” he added. “There are no other bookstores in downtown Quincy, so this also is a significant amenity for the residents who are looking for the opportunity to purchase trade books, magazines, newspapers and office supplies.”

A Unique Place in History

According to Mercurio, Quincy College is one of the last municipally owned colleges in the United States, which makes its affiliation with the city unique. A city nonprofit run by volunteers, College Courses, Inc., sponsors the college bookstore. “It’s because of this dedicated group of community volunteers that we have a Quincy College bookstore,” he explained.

The bookstore recently underwent significant changes, starting with renovations that began in July. The bookstore renovation team literally took down the walls and rebuilt the 3,000-square-foot space from scratch. Plans are in the works to add new comfortable seating and reading tables. For students, a new textbook program — with books available in new, digital, used and rental (both used and new) — will provide students with plenty of cost-saving purchasing flexibility. In a nod to the future, Hoyle pointed out another new change to the bookstore. “We’ll also be selling laptops and tablets now,” he stated. Lots of high-tech possibilities in a very historical setting.