Elementary and middle school parents are likely already familiar with the studies linking excessive backpack weight to back pain and other health problems in their students. In an effort to literally take the load off its students' shoulders, Lincoln Land Community College Bookstore is offering an inexpensive, safe place to store heavy textbooks and other supplies right on campus.
LLCC Bookstore coordinates and manages the school's new locker rental program. Students can visit the bookstore to rent a locker held in one of three central campus locations for $10 a semester, or $5 a summer term — lock and all included.
"We're looking at ways to provide as many services as possible through the bookstore," said Director Andrew Blaylock. "We're a commuter campus so there are no dorms, and currently 80-85% of our sales are still in print, so this is something that's really handy for students buying a large volume of books."
Currently there are 300 lockers available for rental across LLCC's campus, about 180 of which are in use. The store chose to install half-length, stacked lockers to be as accessible as possible to LLCC's diverse student body.
"The lockers broaden our scope and make us a destination for students on campus," Blaylock said. "If students are looking to rent a locker, they'll be coming into the store, where they will see laptops, electronics and other products they might not have even known we have. It establishes us as a first-contact point."
The locker rental program is largely delegated to one staff member who maintains the list of renters and enforces rules. While the program has occasional challenges, such as enforcing the two-week clean-out period students have after the end of each term, Blaylock said it has been an overall success.
"We pride ourselves on our customer service and providing friendly, quick and efficient help," Blaylock said, noting this is another component of the store's drive to provide more services to students. "We'll even help students with orders that weren't placed through our store. Because of that, it's really helped with our sell-through. I've been to stores where their sell-through is around 50%, but LLCC's is consistently in the 80s."