UA BookStores History
When the University of Arizona held its first classes in Old Main—for a total of six students enrolled as freshmen books were included along with attendance costs. Any idea of a "bookstore" was simply part of the original university administration. In 1928, the first unnamed and unofficial bookstore opened in the basement of Old Main, finally selling textbooks rather than issuing them to students. After the Great Depression, this basement bookstore was sold to the Associated Students of the University of Arizona.
With the arrival of thousands of World War II veterans attending UA on the G.I. Bill, things began to turn around for the entire campus, and the BookStores as well. In January 1954, the store moved into a new 8000—square—foot space to accommodate the sharp increase in student population. New locations opened up in the 1960s, and a major expansion in 1981 gave the main BookStore a space nearly three times larger.
In 1989 Frank Farias became Executive Director of the UA BookStores, instilling a strong sense of community among BookStores employees that redefined the bookstore model. He wanted the place to "do more than just exchange product for money," and that's what it became.
In February 2003, the BookStores unveiled its new flagship store in the Student Union Memorial Center. At 63,000 square feet, this store provides students, faculty, and the Tucson community with a premier university shopping experience. The versatile space also serves as an event center, a meeting place, an art gallery, and a tribute to University of Arizona students from all over the world.
Debby Shively became Director of UA BookStores in 2009 and tirelessly works to create innovative partnerships with new brands, to navigate the BookStores's transition into the age of digital content, and to oversee the expansion of outreach programming to off—campus constituents and young learners.