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OP-ED: Save the Penn Book Center! (there's, like, a Starbucks in there, right?)


Photo by Giang / CC by 2.0

When I heard that the Penn Book Center was closing on campus, I was shook to my core. How could I, a student at this university, live without the megalith of a bookstore at 36th and Walnut? I get my coffee there almost everyday. And like, some semesters I even buy my textbooks there. Without the bookstore, how am I supposed to do either of those things?

The fact is that the bookstore is an indispensable part of this University’s campus. With the amount of hats, shirts, mugs, and other Penn memorabilia that dominate the store’s bottom floor, I would argue that the bookstore is one of the most Penn-spirited shops in the immediate area. And plus, they have such good study spaces in there! I love sitting in front of Starbucks, gingerly sipping my caramel macchiato while I crack open a good book and scroll through Facebook and Insta instead. 

And plus, on Penn’s campus, a sense of community is sorely lacking. That bookstore is one of the few places that I feel a genuine connection to my fellow students, as we all stare dully at our phone and laptop screens and submit ourselves to the torture of doing assignments and projects that we have absolutely no interest in working on or completing.
And, like honestly, books are important. When the Great Library of Alexandria burned down in Paris this past month, centuries of learning and knowledge was lost. My heart aches for the people of Alexandria who no longer have books for aesthetically pleasing Instagram pictures and to help them keep up the appearance of being an intellectual. In this increasingly digitized world, it’s honestly so awful that books are valued so little. 

Oh, what’s that? It’s not the bookstore that’s closing, but some other book-y place thing? Oh. I wish I could care, but honestly all I really need in my life is my Starbucks every morning. Ooh, do you think they’ll put in another Starbucks where this book place is? I could honestly really use some extra spots to procrastinate and buy coffee before class.