A Family at Big REaD Books

KEELY LOVERN & CONNOR HOWE — Everyday hundreds of Denisonians, professors, faculty members and prospective students walk through Slayter Union and pass by the Denison Bookstore.

Inside there is a core group of four hard-working women, and as Ruth, who works at the register says, “we are like a family.”

Ruth’s co-workers include, Lisa Olmstead the general merchandise supervisor, Luanne Scott who runs the textbook section and Therese who also works at the cashier.

College students create their own families in the four years that they live on the Hill, and also make their own story during our time here. Meanwhile, for nearly 10 years these women have maintained and created a family of their own.

Ruth mentioned how the women get to “hear everyone’s story” and make connections with people they would not doing other jobs. Ruth, who runs the checkout area for some of the day, focused on how she loves that she can “be in Granville but talk to people from all over the world.”

Due to Denison’s large international demographic, the bookstore gets exposure to all sorts of people with different backgrounds. Like every job, there are some not-so glamorous elements. For the bookstore, this includes when the staff has to sift through all of the returned textbooks at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters.

Ruth added that when students “come back in and give you a great big hug, it makes it worth it.” Everyone gets job satisfaction, but for Ruth that satisfaction comes from kindness.

Lisa Olmstead has worked at the Denison Bookstore for 20 years as a general merchandise supervisor. She orders and chooses all of the colorful Denison swag. In her own words Olmstead says, “It’s always fun to get the students perspective. I like to ask our students before I meet with our buyers, see what they think of their samples to coming up with what they think will sell, you know, it’s always something different.”

Some students have been heard complaining about how the bookstore does not have a certain shirt they like or sweatshirt design they think is cool. Well, anyone can change that by asking Lisa to order it.

She mentioned how the music department wanted representation like the sports teams got with shirts, and as she says, “all you have to do is ask.” Like Ruth, Lisa loves to be around college-age students because it keeps her “young” and that “there’s always something fun going on around here.”

Lisa Luanne Scott, runs the entire textbook department and is another woman who has been with the Denison Bookstore for 20 years. The textbook industry has changed a lot due to the Internet and online component of learning.

Her main priority is “affordability for the students.” After all, she is not the one who wants to charge $150 for a Biology textbook. Despite her role centering around textbook most of what Luanne said during her interview was about the chemistry between these women.

Luanne summed up the work dynamic well by expressing how, “we all get along really great. We just, we’ve all clicked over the years and that’s why pretty much we’ve all stayed right where we are with no desire to move out, you know, onto something else.”

Therese has worked as a cashier in the bookstore for the past 17 years. In addition to ringing up students, she assists the other ladies in their own departments like textbooks and general merchandise. She says she has been at Denison for this long because of “the students” and her “coworkers” who she interacts with daily.

These four women show students that who you work with can really make you love what you do and want to come to work each day. Therese added that, “pleasing each other and not trying to get under each other’s skin” is why they function like a well-oiled machine.

These phrases can also be attributed to a familial relationship, expressing how strong their bond is. After all, even families can be flawed, but that is what makes things “fun.”